On June 5, the Finance Minister of the G7 announced the organization’s support for a 15% global minimum corporate rate. The announcement by the seven-member group of the world’s largest economies is a landmark event following years of negotiations on this issue.
Imposing a global minimum tax rate on corporations has long been advocated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as a way to counter the pressure that large multinationals wield on individual countries to lower their corporate tax rates so as to attract those business’s headquarters. But the 139-member body has been unable to reach an agreement on this issue, making the G7 announcement a significant breakthrough.
The G7 decision has already drawn public support from larger tech companies, such as Amazon and Google, even as it would force them to pay taxes in the countries where sales are made, regardless whether they have a location in that country. The idea is not supported by low-tax countries such as Ireland, with a 12.5% rate, whose officials have argued that low tax rates are needed by smaller countries which lack the plentiful financial and workforce resources available in larger economies.
The G7 action follows closely on the heels of a Biden administration announcing support for a proposed rate on a potential global minimum tax rate agreement with the OECD of 15%. Treasury issued a release on May 20, 2021, saying they received a “positive reception” from representatives from other countries during the OECD tax steering group meeting. However, Treasury made clear that this proposed rate is a floor and officials suggested that negotiations should continue to push for a higher rate.
In addition to the global minimum corporate tax rate, U.S. officials expressed their desire to:
- Stabilize the international tax architecture
- Instill fairness in the global playing field
- Create an environment of cooperation between countries to maintain tax bases and ensure that the global tax system is equitable and equipped to meet the needs for this century’s global economy
The G7 agreement has no binding authority, however, and the corporate tax rate in the United States already is at 21%, with the Biden administration advocating an increase to as much as 28%. For Biden, the agreement helps address concerns that raising the corporate tax rate here would put the nation at a competitive disadvantage with low-tax countries.
The global minimum corporate tax rate proposal is likely to be discussed at next month’s G20 Finance Ministers meeting.
David E. Sites
David leads the firm's International Tax practice, which focuses on global tax planning, cross border merger and acquisition structuring, and working with global organizations in a variety of other international tax areas.
Washington DC, Washington DC
- Technology and telecommunications
- Retail and consumer products
- International tax
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