G-20 says global corporate tax deal should go live next year

Delegates prepare for a meeting on the last day of the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS) - Group of 20 (G-20) finance ministers recommitted on Friday (Feb 18) to implementing a global overhaul of cross-border corporate tax rules next year in the face of concerns that meeting the deadline could prove difficult.

The deadline is widely considered to be highly ambitious, not least because US President Joe Biden's administration is struggling to pass legislation that would bring US law in line with the global deal.

Years of negotiations culminated last October when nearly 140 countries reached a deal on a minimum tax rate of 15 per cent on multinationals and agreed to make it harder for companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook to avoid tax by booking profits in low-tax jurisdictions.

The technical details are being hammered out at the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development so countries can bring the new rules on to their law books by next year.

G-20 finance ministers said in a joint statement after a meeting on Friday they were committed to ensuring the new rules will come into effect at global level in 2023.

Previous less far-reaching tax agreements took years to be implemented as countries dragged their feet on updating their tax codes.

"The key question is the implementation of our political agreement. There is no turning back, we need to move on," French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told his counterparts during the meeting.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said: "It is an unquestionably ambitious timetable, but it is also a major and important project for international tax justice."

Le Maire invited his G-20 counterparts to come to Paris in June to sign the new multilateral legal framework needed to implement the agreement's first pillar, which makes it harder for digital giants to park profits in low-tax countries.

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