“Recently more and more enterprises organised abroad by American firms have arranged their corporate structures aided by artificial arrangements between parent and subsidiary regarding intercompany pricing, the transfer of patent licensing rights, the shifting of management fees, and similar practices[…] in order to reduce sharply or eliminate completely their tax liabilities both at home and abroad.”
The debate over base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) has reached the highest political level and has become an issue on the agenda of several OECD and non-OECD countries. Governments are responsible for designing their tax systems.
The G20 leaders’ meeting in Los Cabos on 18-19 June 2012 explicitly referred to “the need to prevent base erosion and profit shifting” in their final declaration. G20 finance ministers, triggered by a joint statement of United Kingdom Chancellor George Osborne and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Shaüble, have asked the OECD to report on this issue by their next meeting in February 2013. Such a concern was also voiced by US President Barack Obama in his Framework for Business Tax Reform, where it is stated that “the empirical evidence suggests that income-shifting behaviour by multinational corporations is a significant concern that should be addressed through tax reform”.