G-20 finance chiefs back global tax deal and vow to lucid hurdles


Top officials from the United States, Germany and France said they’re self-assured that a global tax deal endorsed at the Group of 20 assembly in Italy has enough momentum to triumph over political obstacles in Washington and inside the European Union in time for it to be finalized in October.

“There’s more work to be done, but I’m actually hopeful that with the growing consensus we’re on a path to a tax regime that will be reasonable for all of our citizens,” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told reporters on the sidelines of the assembly in Venice.

The landmark agreement aims to revamp rules that have allowed major companies to save billions by shifting profits to low tax jurisdictions. A complete of 132 countries final week backed the two-pillar accord at the OECD that seeks to address that situation with a global minimum rate, in addition to making multinational companies pay more in places where they function slightly than where they’re headquartered.

Yellen used to be especially self-assured that the United States Congress would pass legislation needed to execute a minimum of the a part of the proposed deal that imposes a minimum tax rate.

“I’m very optimistic that the legislation will include what we need for the United States to come into compliance with pillar 2,” Yellen said.

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said he believes European holdouts Ireland, Hungary and Estonia would be brought on board. “This can be a big historic moment. The G-20 has now reached an agreement here for new rules on international taxation to be introduced,” he said.

France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said “there’s no turning back” from the G-20 officials giving their stamp of approval.

“It’ll be implemented and we can have built this international taxation system for the 21st century,” Le Maire said.

The three finance chiefs, whose countries have for years haggled over the main points of an agreement, hailed the political endorsement in Venice as killing off a competition among countries that have sought to draw corporations with lower and lower taxes.

Congress Hurdle

Getting that finalized, then again, will require make stronger from Congress, where many Republican lawmakers and a few Democrats have expressed serious reservations approximately both so-called pillars of the deal.

Yellen said she has busy in talks with the Democratic leaders of key congressional committees on the Biden administration’s tax proposals. These would cover not only the international agreement but also measures needed to pay for the president’s ambitious plans to invest in infrastructure and other priorities over the next decade.

The Treasury chief said changes essential to conform with the minimum corporate taxes could be passed alongside other Biden proposals through a process referred to as budget reconciliation that won’t require Republican make stronger in the closely divided legislature.

“Congress is negotiating a budget resolution that we expect to result in a reconciliation invoice,” she said.

Following Yellen’s remarks, a Treasury official said the administration sees approval for pillar 1, which proposes a redistribution of corporate tax rights on multinational firms, as moving forward on a different schedule.

That a part of the deal won’t be approved until next year at the earliest, said the official, who commented on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The OECD accord foresees implementation in 2023.

Europe Hurdle

Scholz and other European leaders face their own internal fights to receive the agreement adopted across the 27-member bloc.

Ireland, Hungary and Estonia have so far refused to enroll to the minimum tax, creating a potential roadblock as a result of the need for unanimity on tax issues inside the EU.

While Scholz expressed optimism the three countries will eventually back the accord, the EU could yet create other problems as a result of a plan to present a digital levy for the bloc in the coming weeks. That has rankled Treasury officials, who point out that the OECD deal is supposed to do away with taxes in several European countries on digital giants like Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

The U.S. has insisted such levies are abolished before a deal goes to Congress, and that no new ones be adopted. Yellen is because of meet with European counterparts in Brussels on Monday to speak about the matter.

“We will be able to fix the issue, we will be able to alleviate the difficulties,” Le Maire said. “There is and there are answers and I’m certain that the European Commission will do its best efforts to find solutions with the American administration.”

Rate Hurdles

But even so imaginable implementation challenges, there are issues that remain to be settled between advanced and developing countries, and low and high tax jurisdictions.

On the minimum tax, Le Maire said he had agreed with Yellen and Scholz in Venice to push for a rate higher than 15%.

There also remain technical and political hurdles connected to sharing out of rights to tax international firms. According to the OECD deal, between 20% and 30% of profits over 10% of revenues would be allocated for tax in countries where multinationals generate revenues.

“In the meanwhile we have consensus for 20%. I think that best solution would be a level of reallocation of 25% to meet the concerns of a few developing countries,” Le Maire said.

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