OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría has stressed the need for policy makers to provide a certain tax environment for businesses, to maintain trade and investment.
Discussing the tax challenges facing EU countries at the informal meeting of EU finance ministers, held in Bratislava, Slovakia, on September 10, 2016, Gurría said: “Of course there will always be some degree of policy uncertainty due to economic change – such as new business models arising from developments in the digital economy – but governments can design tax policies to minimize tax uncertainty. Improving dispute-resolution mechanisms is one obvious way to do this, and efforts to improve the EU Arbitration Convention are a step in that direction.”
Gurría said the OECD has launched work on ensuring tax certainty, in response to recent discussions at G20 level on the impact of international tax policy changes on trade and investment.
Gurría pointed out that globally consistent international tax rules are key. He stressed that options at EU level for reducing tax uncertainty include further harmonizing cross-border tax rules; offering binding tax rulings and advance pricing agreements; training tax administration officials to deal with new global challenges; and implementing cooperative compliance programs.
Gurría concluded that the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) recommendations will make certain types of tax planning arrangements – like those challenged in the the European Commission’s state aid investigations – impossible in the future.
Referring to the EU’s probe, he said: “The state aid cases deal with the past. It is thus extremely important that we all stick to the agreed rules on transfer pricing. Sending this message loud and clear will avoid jeopardizing the BEPS package we worked so hard to deliver.”
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