Two weeks to 2 April 2021
Welcome to our latest update on recent developments in international and treasury tax of interest to multinationals operating in the UK.
The government published a range of tax-related consultations and calls for evidence on 23 March, outlining a number of measures that are designed to enhance the stability and effectiveness of the UK tax system by outlining a future pathway for its tax administration and tax policy development.
- Changes ahead for UK transfer pricing documentation
HMRC released a public consultation document setting out some proposed changes to UK transfer pricing documentation requirements. These proposals could substantially increase the obligations for many UK taxpayers, and HMRC has invited contributions from businesses, advisers and representative bodies on “possible options and design ideas which could benefit UK business and HMRC”. The consultation period is relatively short, running for 10 weeks with a deadline of 1 June 2021.
Responding to the business impacts of COVID-19
Visit our global crisis centre webpage and our COVID-19 hub on TheSuite to continue to keep up to date with developments on this topic. Of particular relevance to multinational companies operating in the UK, navigate the global tax, legal and economic measures in response to COVID-19 by territory here. In relation to the UK:
- Does your global mobility strategy support your international workforce?
COVID-19 has forced companies to implement new ways of working almost overnight, with many using virtual workforces to navigate the challenges of the pandemic. Having proven successful, organisations are now benefiting from international remote working. But how can you be sure your virtual workforce is compliant with global business immigration, tax, social security and posted worker regulations? With PwC’s market-leading myAtlas tool you have everything you need to manage the compliance risks, whilst unlocking the benefits of a changing world and workforce at your fingertips - 24/7.
Doing business and investing in the UK - 2021 edition of the guide is launched
The UK has consistently attracted considerable overseas investment and has a long and successful history of trade with the rest of the world. In light of this, PwC is pleased to share the new edition of our “Doing business and investing in the UK'' guide, providing insight into the key aspects of business expansion, from establishing an entity to navigating employment legislation. The guide also answers multiple questions facing the foreign investors community and is a good starting point for a company - or an individual - looking to conduct business in the UK. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Mike Curran at PwC’s Pathfinder Team.
PwC’s Digital Tax Academy - our tax training at your fingertips
Digital Tax Academy is PwC's new online tax learning and development solution, a curated suite of technical and soft skills courses for tax professionals, designed by our subject matter experts and delivered via our cutting edge online learning platform, Learning Lab. Whether you need to upskill on a particular piece of tax regulation, or wish to continue your team's professional development, Digital Tax Academy can equip tax teams with the skills and knowledge to maximise their influence and impact on how tax is managed within your organisation. We have a wide range of international tax courses that are available now or over the next few weeks, from fundamental principles to specialist deep dives. Please contact your PwC tax advisor or sign up here for a free trial. Find out more here.
Taxing the digital economy
- EU expands reporting obligations under DAC7 and DAC8 for the digital economy and crypto assets
While EU Member States, advisors and taxpayers are still navigating the DAC6 (aka EU MDR) landscape, the European Union is moving quickly to expand reporting obligations in the digital world. On 10 March, the European Parliament adopted the DAC7 text featuring the new digital platform reporting rules proposed last year by the EU Commission. On 22 March, the EU Council adopted the new rules, applicable 1 January 2023. Separately on 10 March, the Commission launched a public consultation on DAC8, which would impose reporting obligations for e-money and crypto assets. Read more in this PwC Tax Insights and this PwC EUDTG news alert.
EU Direct Tax Group Newsletter - January/February 2021
Welcome to our latest EUDTG bimonthly newsletter, featuring summaries of all the relevant ECJ and national court cases and decisions, and EU policy initiatives related to EU direct tax law and state aid. This edition includes: (1) CJEU rules tax credit cap compatible with the free movement of capital in Societe Generale case; (2) Swedish interest deduction rule incompatible with EU law; (3) DAC6 developments in the UK, Spain and Gibraltar.
Commission refers UK to European Court for failure to fully recover illegal tax exemption aid of up to around €100 million in Gibraltar
The European Commission has decided to refer the United Kingdom to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to fully recover illegal State aid of up to around €100 million, granted as a tax exemption for passive interest and royalties in Gibraltar, as required by a Commission decision. This case relates to facts that took place before the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union. Read more in this European Commission press release.
MEPs clear another hurdle for the COVID-19 recovery plan
MEPs have approved three laws on implementing the EU’s Own Resources system, paving the way for its reform and the introduction of new sources of EU revenue. Read more in this European Parliament press release.
CFE Tax Advisers Europe
- CFE Tax Top 5 – Round-up of EU Tax Policy News
The latest edition looks at the following: 1) EU expands DAC Framework with Digital Platforms; 2) EU Commission refers UK to the ECJ on State aid matters; 3) Tax and Gender: Developments in International Tax Policy; 4) CFE Academy webinar on recent ECJ case-law: 22 April; and 5) CFE Forum – Tax Transparency, Exchange of Information & Digital Commerce - 6 May 2021. View previous editions here.
- CFE’s Global Tax Top 10 – March 2021
The latest edition covers: 1) EU Commission publishes Roadmap on Business Taxation for the 21st Century; 2) OECD Tax Talks Webinar update; 3) EU professional services regulation roadmap published; 4) CFE Forum – Tax Transparency, Exchange of Information & Digital Commerce – 6 May 2021; 5) Public consultation on EU exchange of information on crypto-assets & e-Money; 6) EU expands tax reporting framework to digital platforms; 7) Tax & Gender Developments in International Tax Policy; 8) EU Commission launches Taxpayers’ Rights consultation; 9) CFE Academy webinar on recent ECJ Case-Law: 22 April; and 10) UN Tax Committee agrees Digital Services Model Tax Treaty amendment.
Greece and Hungary deposit their instrument of ratification for the Multilateral BEPS Convention
Greece and Hungary have each deposited their instrument of ratification for the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (Multilateral Convention or MLI), which now covers over 1700 bilateral tax treaties, thus underlining their strong commitment to prevent the abuse of tax treaties and base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) by multinational enterprises. For Greece and Hungary, the MLI will enter into force on 1 July 2021. See here for the latest list of signatories and parties.
Tax transparency moves forward as no or only nominal tax jurisdictions first exchange information on the substance of entities
Twelve no or only nominal tax jurisdictions have begun their first tax information exchanges under the Forum on Harmful Tax Practices (FHTP) global standard on substantial activities. The standard ensures that mobile business income can no longer be parked in a low tax jurisdiction without the core business functions being carried out from that jurisdiction and that the countries where the parent entities and beneficial owners are tax resident get access through regular exchanges of information. Read more in this OECD item.
OECD invites public input on proposed changes to Commentaries in the OECD Model Tax Convention on Article 9 and on related articles
Article 9 of the OECD Model Tax Convention deals with the taxation of transactions between associated enterprises. Work has recently been undertaken on the Commentary on Article 9 to clarify its application, especially as it relates to domestic laws on interest deductibility. A public discussion draft, which includes proposals for changes to the Commentary on Article 9 and other related articles, has been published for comments by 28 May 2021.
Tax treaties: OECD publishes 30 country profiles applying Arbitration under the multilateral BEPS Convention
The OECD, in its capacity as Depositary of the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (the MLI), has published the Arbitration Profiles of 30 jurisdictions applying Part VI on Arbitration of the MLI and an opinion of the Conference of the Parties to the MLI. See this OECD item.
OECD releases new peer review results on the prevention of tax treaty shopping under the BEPS Action 6 minimum standard
The OECD has released the latest peer review report assessing jurisdictions’ efforts to prevent tax treaty shopping and other forms of treaty abuse under Action 6 of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project. A revised peer review document forming the basis of the assessment of the Action 6 minimum standard was also released. Read more in this OECD item.
Taxation of the digital economy
- Global Digital Tax Online
In a time when information is key and compliance is vital, GlobalDigitalTaxOnline (GDTO) is an essential tool to help navigate the complex world of tax and the reporting of various digital/electronic services. Read more about our new online subscription service.
- Digital tax byte
The latest edition, from 29 March, includes progress on the US State of Maryland's digital advertising tax, potential GILTI changes that might impact Pillar Two (and wider comments on the OECD project) and an update on potential US tariffs with DST countries. A further postponement of the dates of payment and filing for Italy's DST (plus clarification on deductibility) has been joined by announcements by South Africa and Japan that they would consider a DST. The European Council has adopted DAC7, setting new reporting rules for platforms in relation to EU sellers, while the Commission and Council Presidency also reiterated that a proposed digital levy would be an instrument entirely separate to the corporate tax rules being negotiated at the OECD.
- USTR proposes potential tariffs pending six digital tax investigations; closes four others
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) recently published updates to digital service tax (DST) investigations regarding Austria, India, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the UK, Brazil, the Czech Republic, the EU, and Indonesia. The USTR has terminated its investigations regarding Brazil, the Czech Republic, the EU, and Indonesia because those jurisdictions either have not adopted or not implemented a DST during the period of investigation. For the other countries, the investigatory process is continuing, and the USTR has proposed a list of goods for potential tariffs. Read more in this PwC Tax Insights.
See our EU section above for EU developments relating to the taxation of the digital economy.
- EU expands reporting obligations under DAC7 and DAC8 for the digital economy and crypto assets
See here for latest updates.
Update COVID-19 and cross-border employment: agreements extended
Now that the mutual agreement between Belgium and France has been extended, as have the COVID-19 cross-border employment agreements with Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, all mutual agreements have been extended until 30 June 2021. Read more in this PwC Belgium news item.
2021 Ontario budget: Tax highlights
Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy, has presented the province’s budget. It does not change corporate or personal income tax rates but does: 1) temporarily increase the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit rate to 20%, for qualifying investments that become available for use after 23 March 2021 and before 1 January 2023; and 2) provide a second round of Ontario Small Business Support Grant payments to eligible small businesses and introduce an alternative Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant. This Tax Insights discusses these and other tax initiatives outlined in the budget.
Quebec budget – Tax highlights
Éric Girard, Minister of Finance, presented the 2021-2022 Québec government’s budget on 25 March 2021. This Tax Insights highlights the budget’s main tax measures.
China issues Q&A regarding the Administration on forex cash in-flows and out-flows of TP adjustments
Under China’s foreign exchange control system, enterprises, banks, and individuals cannot move money in or out of the country except in accordance with strict rules. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) and the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) regulate forex flow in and out of China. In practice, changes since 2020 in the external business environment and other uncontrollable factors (e.g the COVID-19 pandemic) may have caused the implementation results of MNCs to deviate from their transfer pricing policies. Accordingly, MNCs may consider using transfer pricing adjustments (TPA) to adjust their actual implementation results. Read more in this PwC Tax Insights.
Cyprus Parliament approves legislation implementing DAC6
The Cyprus Parliament recently approved the draft Bill amending the Law on Administrative Cooperation in the Field of Taxation, implementing DAC6. Once the Law is published in the Government Gazette of the Republic of Cyprus, it will be in force and will have a retroactive effect, capturing reportable cross-border arrangements made on or after 25 June 2018. Read more in this PwC Tax Insights.
Germany passes draft ATAD bill
On March 24, the German government passed a draft bill aimed at implementing the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD). The Draft is expected to become law before the September elections. Taxpayers should particularly analyze the Draft’s hybrid rules impacting deductibility of expenses, since these would be implemented retroactively, and monitor the Draft as it proceeds through the legislative process. Read more.
Greece ratifies the MLI
As reported above, Greece has deposited its instrument of ratification for the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (Multilateral Convention or MLI), which now covers over 1700 bilateral tax treaties. The MLI will enter into force for Greece on 1 July 2021. See here for the latest list of signatories and parties.
Hungary ratifies the MLI
As reported above, Hungary has deposited its instrument of ratification for the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (Multilateral Convention or MLI), which now covers over 1700 bilateral tax treaties. The MLI will enter into force for Hungary on 1 July 2021. See here for the latest list of signatories and parties.
Amendments to the Finance Bill 2021 as passed by both houses of the parliament
The Finance Bill 2021 (Bill) was passed by the Lok Sabha on 23 March 2021 with amendments to the original Bill that was tabled before the Lok Sabha on 1 February 2021. Subsequently, the Bill was affirmed by the Rajya Sabha on 24 March 2021, without any further amendments. This Tax Insight explains the key amendments.
Implementing rules on Special Economic Zones under Omnibus Law
The Government has issued GR-401 to implement the provisions on Special Economic Zones under Law No.11 Year 2020 on Job Creation (the “Omnibus Law”). This TaxFlash covers matters related to the tax and customs facility.
Qatar - Tax updates: Extension of the income tax filing deadline for 2020
The General Tax Authority (“GTA”) has issued Circulars 1 and 2 of 2021 on 24 March 2021 in relation to extension in the income tax filing deadline. This PwC tax news item summarises the key implications to taxpayers.
Dutch consultation on adaptation of tax qualification rules for legal entities
On 29 March 2021, the Dutch Ministry of Finance published a consultation document which includes proposed amendments to the Dutch qualification rules for Dutch and foreign entities. The consultation period ends on 26 April 2021. The aim of the proposal is to reduce the number of hybrid mismatches in an international context. In particular, the proposed rules should result in less hybrid mismatches due to the asymmetric qualification of entities. Read more in this PwC Netherlands tax news item.
Netherlands submits draft bill introducing conditional source tax on dividend payments
A Bill introducing a conditional withholding tax on dividends was recently submitted to the Lower House of Parliament. The Conditional Withholding Tax on Dividends Act supplements the 2021 Withholding Tax Act and aims to prevent the untaxed flow of dividends from the Netherlands to low-tax jurisdictions and in abuse situations. If passed in its current form, the new withholding tax will enter into force on 1 January 2024. Read more in this PwC Netherlands tax news item.
Government announces tax changes to address housing demand
The Government has announced a number of changes to tax rules, including extending the bright line test to 10 years and disallowing interest deductions on residential investment property, which are part of a wider package intended to help address housing affordability. Ministers have described the proposed changes as removing tax “loopholes” benefiting property investors that are currently allowing them to outbid first home buyers and current homeowners looking to move into a new home. Read more in this PwC Tax Tips alert.
Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE) signed into law
The President recently signed into law Republic Act (RA) No. 11534, or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act. The law contains amendments to several provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 (“Tax Code”), primarily on the reduction of the corporate income tax rate and the introduction of a new title on tax incentives. Read more in this PwC Tax Alert.
Tax loss carry-forward and other amendments to the Russian Tax Code
The Russian Ministry of Finance has prepared a draft law that would make a number of amendments to the Russian Tax Code. Restrictions on tax loss carry-forward will be extended until 2024. The draft law includes several other important amendments, including provisions regulating VAT, excise taxes and the taxation of mining companies and individuals. The draft law is under public discussion and has yet to be debated in the State Duma. Read more in this PwC Tax Flash.
Article 54.1 of the Russian Tax Code and the Russian FTS’s efforts to shore up enforcement of tax avoidance
The Russian Federal Tax Service has published a letter setting forth instructions to be followed by the tax authorities when enforcing provisions of Article 54.1 of the RTC. We have seen that tax inspectors are taking an increasingly formal approach when enforcing Article 54.1 of the RTC. For the foreseeable future, we expect that Article 54.1 will remain unchanged and that the tax authorities will follow the approaches set forth in the letter. In particular, the tax authorities are likely to cut down on the number of far-fetched claims made against good-faith taxpayers and to be more scrupulous about the collection of evidence and the determination of tax liabilities. Read more in this PwC Tax Flash.
Property tax and the search for those who will pay it
The Russian Supreme Court considered the rather unique case of OOO Loza, where the tax authorities focused on the question of who should pay property tax — the owner of the title of the property or another party. In the case, the Russian Supreme Court challenged existing approaches and made an interesting conclusion — it is the party who gains real economic benefit that should pay property tax, even if it is not the official title holder. Read more in this PwC Tax Flash.
Singapore’s tax authority issues new transfer pricing guidelines
Singapore’s tax authority (IRAS) has issued new transfer pricing guidelines that set out key considerations for multinational entities headquartered in Singapore. They (1) discuss the economic value contributions of centralised activities in Singapore and their importance to a multinational enterprise (“MNE”) group; and (2) provide guidance on how to analyse such activities carried out in Singapore between related parties, the factors that may affect the transfer price for these activities and the transfer pricing methods that may be appropriate. The Guide is relevant to business entities (including branches) incorporated or registered in Singapore and have centralisation of activities within an MNE group.
Spain enacts ATAD 2 anti-hybrid rules
The Spanish government recently amended the Corporate Income Tax law and the Non-Resident Income Tax law to address hybrid mismatches, implementing into Spanish law the anti-hybrid rules included in ATAD 1, as amended by ATAD 2. The Royal Decree law was published in the Spanish Official Gazette on 10 March 2021 and entered into force the following day. The new rules effectively apply to tax years not finalized when the new rules entered into force (11 March 2021). Read more in this PwC Tax Insights.
Biden Infrastructure Plan
President Joe Biden held an event in Pittsburgh on 31 March 2021 to announce a $2 trillion "American Jobs Plan'' focused on infrastructure and other spending initiatives, with part of the cost of his proposals to be offset by corporate tax increase proposals.
- White House lists corporate tax offsets for Biden infrastructure plan
In advance of the President’s remarks, the White House released an outline of specific infrastructure proposals and corporate tax increase offsets. Read more in this PwC Tax Insights.
- Biden infrastructure plan includes numerous ESG proposals
This PwC Insight focuses on the tax-related aspects of President Biden’s plan related to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.
- Senate Finance Democrats, Treasury Secretary Yellen call for international tax policy changes
Building off President Biden’s recent proposals for infrastructure spending to be paid for with corporate tax increases, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) joined with Finance members Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) in releasing a nine-page paper outlining a framework for overhauling US international tax policy. In a separate event, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen highlighted the tax proposals announced last week by President Biden that call for increasing the US minimum rate on global income and increasing the US corporate tax rate to 28%. Read more in this PwC Tax Insights.
US international tax policy focus of Senate Finance Committee hearing
On 25 March, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on how US international tax policy impacts American workers, jobs, and investment. The hearing was held in advance of President Biden’s expected release in late spring of corporate, international, and individual tax proposals that are intended to offset part of the reportedly $3 trillion cost of his ‘Build Back Better’ plan. The Biden administration has announced that President Biden will send his discretionary spending proposals to Congress next week, with details on his other proposals to follow at a later date. Read more in this PwC Tax Insights.
Key trade and policy considerations for US inbound companies
Global trade will play a key role in economic recovery efforts in the United States and around the world. This Insight describes key trade and policy developments and analyzes how these topics affect US inbound companies.
US Federal COVID relief to states restricts use for ‘net tax’ reductions
The American Rescue Plan Act, enacted on 11 March, provides over $195 billion in direct aid to states but includes a provision prohibiting the use of those funds to “either directly or indirectly offset a reduction in the net tax revenue” of a receiving state. Businesses should monitor tax measures potentially impacted by this provision and the status of Treasury guidance on the issue. Read more in this PwC Tax Insights.
Tax leader insights
We asked Tax leaders to weigh in on their priorities and outlook on the business environment as well as their perspectives on international tax rules and environmental, social and governance issues. Tapping into this collective intelligence can help you anticipate what’s next, see how you measure up, and spark new ideas for growth. Read more.
USTR proposes potential tariffs pending six digital tax investigations; closes four others
As reported above, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) recently published updates to digital service tax (DST) investigations regarding Austria, India, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the UK, Brazil, the Czech Republic, the EU, and Indonesia. The USTR has terminated its investigations regarding Brazil, the Czech Republic, the EU, and Indonesia because those jurisdictions either have not adopted or not implemented a DST during the period of investigation. For the other countries, the investigatory process is continuing, and the USTR has proposed a list of goods for potential tariffs. Read more in this PwC Tax Insights.
Webcasts & podcasts:
- Tax Readiness: How to comply with the new final stewardship regulations
Register here to join us on Wednesday 7 April at 7pm for this webcast.
- Tax Function of the Future: Keeping pace with the new operating tempo
Join our panelists on Tuesday 20 April at 7pm to explore how high priority policy changes and other disruption are shaping the C-suite agenda and impacting Tax functions. Together, we will walk through tangible examples of how companies can operationalize to meet new Tax function challenges now and beyond. Register here.
- Tax Readiness: Are digital taxes here to stay?
Join us on Wednesday 28 April 2021 at 7pm for this webcast, in which we will discuss the rapidly evolving environment, and how DSTs are expanding beyond Europe, not just in geography, but also in scope. We will talk about the impact on company operating and tax models, how a DST in one country affects entities in other jurisdictions and how companies are responding to DSTs. Register here.
- Tap into Tax podcast
This PwC podcast series combines perspectives from our tax technical specialists and our professionals focusing on the evolving tax function for a holistic look at tax. Previous episodes in this series are available here, as well as on Spotify and other streaming services.
- Cross-border tax talks
- From Audit to Tax: a conversation with PwC’s US Tax Leader
In this episode from 1 April, Doug McHoney (PwC's US International Tax Services (ITS) Leader) and Kathryn Kaminsky (PwC's Vice Chair - US Tax Leader) discuss Kathryn's background and her transition to PwC's US Tax Leader.
Previous episodes in this fabulous series of podcasts can be found here, as well as on Spotify, YouTube and other streaming services.
- TP Talks
- Advance Pricing Arrangements – a reliable tool for managing TP risk on the path forward
In episode 68 from 22 March, our Transfer Pricing professionals discuss their recent experience with APAs in Japan and the US generally, as well as touch on bilateral APAs between the US and Japan. The panelists focus on lessons from prior economic downturns and how an APA can be a tool to manage uncertainty. They also discuss maximizing the utility of an APA for triangle transactions, US APMA’s outlook on APAs, and takeaways.
- Financial Transactions Transfer Pricing
In episode 69 from 31 March, David Ledure (TP Partner, PwC Belgium), Tanja Keser (TP Partner, PwC Germany), Erin Venter (TP Partner, PwC New Zealand) and Agustin Aila (TP Senior Manager, PwC Argentina) discuss new developments, including: pending legislation in Germany related to new requirements for interest deductions, NZ’s recently enacted Restricted Transfer Pricing rule for inbound related party debt, and new rules in Argentina impacting intercompany financing. The group also discusses debt capacity and controversy generally.
Previous episodes in this series of podcasts can be found here, as well as on Spotify, YouTube and other streaming services.
A number of previous webcasts are available for replay in our US tax reform hub here, including:
- Q1 Financial Reporting Considerations
You can watch the replay here of this webcast held on Wednesday 24 March 2021.
- Tax Readiness: International tax planning post-election
Register here to watch the replay from this webcast on Wednesday 17 March 2021.
- Tax Readiness: State and Local Tax implications of a remote workforce
Watch the replay from this webcast held on 3 March 2021.
- 2021 Tax Policy Outlook: The Changing Horizon
Watch the replay from this webcast on 28 January 2021.
For regular updates on this topic, check out our US tax reform hub on The Suite here.
Criteria for high tech companies
The Government recently issued Decision 10/2021/QD-TTg setting out criteria for companies to be classed as “high tech”, which will be effective from 30 April 2021. This Decision applies to companies manufacturing high-tech products and providing high-tech services in Vietnam. Read more in this PwC Vietnam NewsBrief.