Insight: Taxing the Digital Economy - Pillar One Is Not BEPS 2 (Parts I and II)
Forthcoming in Tax Management International Journal (Nov. 2019). Part I published in Tax Notes Daily (Nov 8, 2019); Part II in Tax Notes Daily (Nov 12, 2019)
12 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2019
Date Written: November 8, 2019
The Unified Approach issued by the OECD Secretariat on Oct 9, 2019, is the OECD’s most recent attempt to find international consensus on BEPS Action Item 1, “Taxing the Digital Economy.” Our assessment is that the Pillar One proposals in the Unified Approach suffer from several defects, the most important of which is their apparent abandonment of the arm’s-length principle. The overarching goal behind the 15 BEPS Action Items issued in 2013 was to strengthen the international tax system by removing egregious tax loopholes and ensuring that profits were taxed where economic activities occurred and value was created.
The Pillar One proposals, however, are not “BEPS 2”; they do not share the same agenda, do not build on international tax and transfer pricing principles, and will weaken not strengthen the current system. We believe that the current tax and transfer pricing rules, inclusive of BEPS 1 changes, can encompass the digital economy. We offer six policy recommendations designed to move the global economy onto the BEPS 2 path, a path appropriate for 21st century digital multinationals that will benefit both developed and developing countries. This article is a two-part analysis of the Pillar One proposals. In Part I, we provide a summary and analysis of the proposals. In Part II, we examine their implications and provide some recommendations.
Keywords: Transfer Pricing, Arm’s Length Principle, OECD, Pillar One, BEPS, Digital Economy
JEL Classification: F23, H25, H26, K34, K420, K330, L11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation