On January 29, 2024, the OECD released the results and statistics for its growing International Compliance Assurance Program (“ICAP”).[1] The data spans the life of the ICAP program, dating back to the first pilot program that began in January 2018, through its full program operations as of October 2023. In all, the statistics generally suggest that the program has been efficient and productive, with most participants receiving mostly low-risk outcomes from tax administrations.Continue Reading ICAP: Life in the Fast Lane

In Moore v. U.S., Mr. and Mrs. Moore challenge the constitutionality of the transition tax under § 965. The Moores ask the Supreme Court to reaffirm a realization requirement for income taxable under the Sixteenth Amendment. The Moores argue that this realization requirement applies to § 965 and that §965, as a tax on unrealized gain, is unconstitutional. In contrast, the government argues that the transition tax is a permissible extension of tax regimes like Subpart F that already tax undistributed corporate earnings. (See our recent client alert on the case generally.)

A ruling on the realization requirement bears on whether Pillar Two might be constitutional in the United States. Specifically, a ruling that § 965 does not comply with a realization requirement, if not suitably cabined, could imperil the ability of the U.S. to implement Pillar Two legally, because Pillar Two might be viewed as similarly not complying with the realization requirement.  Continue Reading Moore and Pillar Two: Possible Interactions

Mayer Brown announced today that Sonal Majmudar, former international tax counsel with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), joined its Tax practice as a partner. Sonal will be resident in the firm’s Washington DC office. Her arrival bolsters Mayer Brown’s market-leading, global tax offerings, particularly with regard to transfer pricing controversies and high-stakes international disputes.

On February 1, 2023, the OECD Forum on Tax Administration published its Manual on the Handling of Multilateral Mutual Agreement Procedures and Advance Pricing Arrangements. (“Multilateral MAP and APA Manual” or the “Manual”). The Multilateral MAP and APA Manual provides new guidance to both tax administrations and taxpayers on how both multilateral MAPs and APAs can be negotiated and implemented under existing bilateral tax treaties in circumstances where a double tax issue cannot be adequately resolved without involving one or more third jurisdictions. The Multilateral MAP and APA Manual is similar in some ways to the Bilateral Advance Pricing Arrangement Manual (“Bilateral APA Manual”) that the OECD published in September 2022, which was the subject of a prior blog post. However, whereas the Bilateral APA provided specific, detailed, best practices to tax administrations and taxpayers reflecting decades of experience within a well-established process, the Multilateral MAP and APA Manual aims to provide a more basic awareness of how multilateral MAPs and APAs can be negotiated and implemented in appropriate cases.Continue Reading OECD’s New Multilateral MAP and APA Manual Adapts Bilateral Processes for a Multilateral World

As companies prepare for the 2023 SEC filing season, they should also be ready for the inevitable press attention on the effective tax rates of high profile multinationals.  In a Client Alert last year, we predicted a recurrence of press focus on whether companies are paying their fair share of tax.  Since that time, numerous articles have appeared in the general and financial press, Senator Wyden has continued his attack on the tax positions on major pharmaceutical companies and activist shareholders have been initiating proxy battles to force enhanced public tax reporting.

Regardless of whether a company decides to publicly respond, every company should be ready for press about its global tax position.  The need for preparation is obvious, but preparation will take on added significance as companies gear up for mandatory public disclosure of their country-by-country reporting in Europe.  In this blog post, we revisit our recommendations to help companies prepare.Continue Reading Preparing for Bad Press (Redux): Tax Transparency Update

At a recent conference, individuals from the U.S. Treasury were very explicit in their desire to receive comments on the Progress Report on Amount A of Pillar One, which was released by the OECD on July 11, 2022.  Comments are due on August 19, 2022.  The next public consultation is September 12, 2022.

The Progress Report represents the current state of progress on Amount A.  While many issues have been agreed to and the debate has been narrowed for others, work remains to be done by the Inclusive Framework to reach a final agreement on how exactly Amount A will be effectuated. Continue Reading Report on the Progress Report on Amount A of Pillar One – Comments Very Much Wanted

On May 27, 2022, the OECD released two public consultation documents related to the tax certainty aspects of Amount A.  The first, entitled Pillar One – A Tax Certainty Framework for Amount A (the Amount A Draft), proposes new mechanisms for multinational enterprises (MNEs) to obtain certainty on different aspects of Amount A.  The second, entitled Pillar One – Tax certainty for issues related to Amount A (the Related Issues Draft), proposes a mandatory binding dispute resolution mechanism for issues related to Amount A, including transfer pricing and the attribution of profits to permanent establishments (PEs).  Given the potential for Amount A to result in uncertainty, disputes and double taxation, these proposed mechanisms will be of critical importance to in-scope and potentially in-scope MNEs.  Such MNEs should further note that both the Amount A Draft and the Related Issues Draft provide a short two-week public comment period that closes on June 10, 2022. Continue Reading OECD Releases Public Consultation Documents on Tax Certainty Aspects of Amount A: Comments Due June 10, 2022

In April, the IRS released a practice unit on country-by-country (or “CbC”) reporting. The purpose of the document is twofold: (i) describe the background of CbC reporting and (ii) provide guidance to IRS personnel on the use of CbC reports “in the IRS high-level transfer pricing risk assessment process.” Although the practice unit repeatedly stresses that the IRS will not audit CbC reports, there is potentially less to this claim than meets the eye.
Continue Reading Less than Meets the Eye: The IRS Practice Unit on CbC Reports

On January 20, 2022, the OECD released the latest version of its OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations. The 2022 Transfer Pricing Guidelines update the 2017 edition by incorporating guidance released by the OECD over the past few years on the transactional profit split method, hard-to-value intangibles, and financial transactions. Although there is no completely new guidance in the 2022 Transfer Pricing Guidelines, some of the previously released guidance now formally incorporated in the Guidelines is quite significant. This includes new Chapter X on financial transactions, which among other guidance incorporates proposed and controversial changes to the Commentary on Article 9 of the OECD Model Tax Convention.
Continue Reading The 2022 OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines: Mostly An Update

The European Commission has repeatedly expressed its ambition to implement the Two-Pillar agreement in a coherent and consistent way across Member States. On December 22, 2021, a mere two days after the Inclusive Framework released its Pillar Two package, the EC proposed a Directive to implement Pillar Two for large multinational groups operating in the European Union. The Directive would implement the GloBe Model rules only, leaving Pillar One for another time.

The proposal sets out how the effective tax rate will be calculated per jurisdiction, and includes binding rules that will ensure large groups in the EU pay a 15% minimum rate in every jurisdiction in which they operate. The design elements of the Directive consist of the OECD Model rules and the -still to be released-Commentary and detailed implementation guidance. The Commission proposes that the Directive be finalized by the middle of 2022 and transposed into national law in Member States and effective on January 1 ,2023. The timetable envisaged by the Commission is ambitious and raises an issue with regard to the OECD process. Indeed the explanatory Commentary is not scheduled to be released by the OECD before January or February and the implementation guidance will not be available until then end of 2022 or even early 2023.

It remains to be seen whether the EU is overly ambitious particularly in light of the fact that the US legislation that would implement Pillar Two is delayed and uncertain.Continue Reading EU Sets Pillar Two In Motion