Abstract

International aspects of the corporate taxation of the extractive industries (EIs) arise, of course, within the context of a wider international tax framework. That framework is contentious, complex, and changing. Contentiousness is doubtless to some degree inevitable, given the scope for countries to disagree on how to share tax base between them, but has risen to new heights in recent years: the unprecedented cancelation of tax treaties, a warning of risks to the established framework, signals an increasing discontent that has been amplified by growing public concern at the apparently small amounts of tax that many multinational enterprises (MNEs) manage to pay – including, not least, in the extractive industries.1 Complexities, which create the scope for such tax planning, are themselves to some degree inherent in dealing with the intersections between national tax systems but also arise from the attempts of policy makers to shape those rules to their own advantage. And these tensions have generated pressures for change that have led to major initiatives, most notably the G20-OECD project on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) which produced, in late 2015, proposals that are now in the course of implementation – but which remain contentious, as some observers continue to press for still more radical reform of the international tax framework, and may even add to complexity.