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Businesses Urge Greater Clarity On BEPS

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

29 December 2014

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD's) base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project is facing an uphill battle in reducing business skepticism on inter-governmental tax action, a recent survey has highlighted.

Two global business surveys conducted by advisory firm Grant Thornton have revealed that businesses are skeptical about the success of the BEPS project, and want greater clarity as to what is acceptable and unacceptable tax planning, even if this provides less opportunity to reduce tax liabilities across borders. The survey of 2,500 businesses in 34 countries revealed that only 23 percent of respondents think the BEPS project is likely to be successful.

Francesca Lagerberg, global leader of tax services at Grant Thornton, said: "Many of the objectives of the BEPS Action Plan are valid...The concern is that the scope is so broad it touches almost every area of international taxation. It's as if in an attempt to get rid of some traffic black spots, the authorities have decided to overhaul the entire road network and require every driver to modify their car."

"Businesses need things in black and white," said Lagerberg. "They have a responsibility to their investors and shareholders to keep costs down. Simply telling them to pay their 'fair share' is not a viable alternative to a clear set of rules or principles."

"We applaud the OECD in taking on this much needed project but we caution the business community that finding a global solution will be very difficult and will not be speedy."

TAGS: compliance | tax | investment | business | tax compliance | tax avoidance | revenue guidance | law | audit | enforcement | agreements | multinationals | tax planning | transfer pricing | France | tax reform | standards | regulation | trade | services

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