Jun 07, 2021
EXPLAINER- What is a global minimum tax and what will it mean?
Finance Ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations reached a landmark accord on Saturday backing the creation of a global minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15%, an agreement that could then form the basis of a worldwide deal. Such a deal aims to end what U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has called a “30-year race to the bottom on corporate tax rates” as countries compete to lure multinationals.
WHY A GLOBAL MINIMUM TAX?
Major economies are aiming to discourage multinationals from shifting profits – and tax revenues – to low-tax countries regardless of where their sales are made. Increasingly, income from intangible sources such as drug patents, software and royalties on intellectual property has migrated to these jurisdictions, allowing companies to avoid paying higher taxes in their traditional home countries.
WHERE ARE THE TALKS AT?
The G7 accord feeds into a much broader, existing effort. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has been coordinating tax negotiations among 140 countries for years on rules for taxing cross-border digital services and curbing tax base erosion, including a global corporate minimum tax.The OECD and G20 countries aim to reach consensus on both by mid-year, but the talks on a global corporate minimum are technically simpler and less contentious. If a broad consensus is reached, it will be extremely hard for any low-tax country to try and block an agreement.The minimum is expected to make up the bulk of the $50 billion-$80 billion in extra tax that the OECD estimates firms will end up paying globally under deals on both fronts.