Ernesto Crivelli, Ruud A. de Mooij, J. E. J. De Vrijer, Mr. Shafik Hebous, and Mr. Alexander D Klemm
This paper aims to contribute to the European policy debate on corporate income tax reform in three ways. First, it takes a step back to review the performance of the CIT in Europe over the past several decades and the important role played by MNEs in European economies. Second, it analyses corporate tax spillovers in Europe with a focus on the channels and magnitudes of both profit shifting and CIT competition. Third, the paper examines the progress made in European CIT coordination and discusses reforms to strengthen the harmonization of corporate tax policies, in order to effectively reduce both tax competition and profit shifting.
Ruud A. de Mooij, Dinar Prihardini, Antje Pflugbeil, and Mr. Emil Stavrev
Luxembourg receives ample investment from multinational corporations, in part due to some attractive features in its international tax rules. Around 95 percent of these foreign investments pass through Luxembourg via companies performing holding and/or intra-group financing activities. While their contribution to Luxembourg’s economy is modest relative to their large overall balance sheets, they still generate around 3 percent of GDP in tax revenue, create almost 4500 direct jobs, and spend almost 3 percent of GDP on salaries and purchases of business services. Ongoing changes in the international corporate tax framework pose risks to these economic contributions, which this paper attempts to quantify. It also discusses options for reforms in Luxembourg’s tax system that could help offset adverse revenue and economic effects.
The ever-increasing digitalization of businesses has accelerated the need to address the many shortcomings and unresolved issues within the international corporate income tax system. In particular, the customer or “user”—through their online activities—is now considered by many as being a critical driving force behind the value of digital services. Furthermore, the rapid growth of digital service providers over the last decade has made them an increasingly popular target for special taxes—similar to wealth and solidarity taxes—which can also help mobilize much-needed revenues in the wake of a crisis. This paper argues that a plausible conceptual case can be made to tax the value generated by users under the corporate income tax. However, a number of issues need to be tackled for user-based tax measures to become a reality, which include agreement among countries on whether user value justifies a reallocation of taxing rights, establishing the legal right to tax income derived from user value, as well as an appropriate metric for valuing user-generated data if it is ever to be used as a tax base. Furthermore, attempting to tax only certain types of business is ill-advised, especially as user data is now being exploited widely enough for it to be recognized as an input for almost all businesses. Several options present themselves for consideration—from a modified permanent establishment definition combined with taxation by formulary apportionment, to user-based royalty-type taxes—each with their own merits and misdemeanors.