BEPS and the New International Tax Order

45 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2017

Date Written: December 01, 2016


Nations across the world are currently engaged in a coordinated international effort, ostensibly to curb excessive tax avoidance by the world’s biggest multinational companies. This Article contends, however, that the most likely impact will be to entrench a monopoly held by a small number of rich countries over the policymaking processes that created the tax avoidance problem to begin with. To examine this contention and probe possible solutions to it, the Article examines the legal and institutional components of the coordination project, referred to as Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), by situating them historically and analyzing their multi-functionality as both norm diffusion and institutional reinforcement mechanisms. The Article concludes that while history has repeatedly taught the world to be pessimistic about the potential for meaningful reform of the international tax order, there are reasons for cautious optimism in some of the recently-introduced institutions and processes. To reduce the risk of returning to a damaging status quo, careful attention will need to be devoted to ensuring meaningful participation by countries that have been systematically excluded from the global tax policy dialogue to date.

Keywords: tax law, tax policy, BEPS, international law, transnational legal order, soft law, governance, norms, multinationals, tax avoidance

JEL Classification: D63, D78, F42, H20, H25, H87, K34, K33, O19, O23, P16

Suggested Citation

Christians, Allison, BEPS and the New International Tax Order (December 01, 2016). Brigham Young University Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Allison Christians (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec

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