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A New Framework For Digital Taxation, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Young Ran (Christine) Kim, Karen Sam Jan 2022

A New Framework For Digital Taxation, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Young Ran (Christine) Kim, Karen Sam

Articles

The international tax regime has wide implications for business, trade, and the international political economy. Under current law, multinational enterprises do not pay their fair share of taxes to market countries where profits are generated because market countries are only allowed to tax companies with a physical presence there. Digital companies, like Google and Amazon, can operate entirely online, thereby avoiding market country taxes. Multinationals can also exploit existing tax rules by shifting their profits to low-tax jurisdictions, thereby avoiding taxes in the residence country where their headquarters are located.

Recently, a global tax deal was reached to tackle these …


Tax Harmony: The Promise And Pitfalls Of The Global Minimum Tax, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Young Ran (Christine) Kim Jan 2022

Tax Harmony: The Promise And Pitfalls Of The Global Minimum Tax, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Young Ran (Christine) Kim

Articles

The rise of globalization has become a double-edged sword for countries seeking to implement a beneficial tax policy. On one hand, there are increased opportunities for attracting foreign capital and the benefits that increased jobs and tax revenue brings to a society. However, there is also much more tax competition among countries to attract foreign capital and investment. As tax competition has grown, effective corporate tax rates have continued to be cut, creating a “race-to-the-bottom” issue.

In 2021, 137 countries forming the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS passed a major milestone in reforming international tax by successfully introducing the framework …


Lecture In Human Rights: Tax Policy, Global Economics, Labor And Justice In Light Of Covid-19, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Apr 2021

Lecture In Human Rights: Tax Policy, Global Economics, Labor And Justice In Light Of Covid-19, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

International Tax Law has extensive ramifications on the wealth gap between wealthy developed nations and poor developing nations. This divide in prosperity has been made clear again in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Developing nations are currently ill-equipped to adapt to, and regulate, an equitable system of taxation on a domestic level. A further challenge is the difficulty of ensuring that foreign investors, especially multinational corporations, are able to comply with tax regulations. Developed nations such as the United States and members of the European Union must continue to work with developing nations to reduce tax evasion and …


A Positive Dialectic: Beps And The United States, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Sep 2020

A Positive Dialectic: Beps And The United States, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

This essay addresses the interaction between the changes in the international tax regime identified by Mason and U.S. international tax policy. Specifically, I will argue that contrary to the general view, the United States actively implemented the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) recommendations through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). Moreover, the changes of the TCJA influenced the current OECD effort of BEPS 2.0. Thus, the current state of affairs can be characterized as a constructive dialogue: The OECD moves (BEPS 1), the United States responds (TCJA), the OECD …


The Games They Will Play: Tax Games, Roadblocks, And Glitches Under The 2017 Tax Legislation, David Kamin, David Gamage, Ari Glogower, Rebecca Kysar, Darien Shanske, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Lily Batchelder, J. Clifton Fleming, Daniel Hemel, Mitchell Kane, David Miller, Daniel Shaviro, Manoj Viswanathan Feb 2019

The Games They Will Play: Tax Games, Roadblocks, And Glitches Under The 2017 Tax Legislation, David Kamin, David Gamage, Ari Glogower, Rebecca Kysar, Darien Shanske, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Lily Batchelder, J. Clifton Fleming, Daniel Hemel, Mitchell Kane, David Miller, Daniel Shaviro, Manoj Viswanathan

Articles

The 2017 tax legislation brought sweeping changes to the rules for taxing individuals and business, the deductibility of state and local taxes, and the international tax regime. The complex legislation was drafted and passed through a rushed and secretive process intended to limit public comment on one of the most consequential pieces of domestic policy enacted in recent history. This Article is an effort to supply the analysis and deliberation that should have accompanied the bill’s consideration and passage, and describes key problem areas in the new legislation. Many of the new changes fundamentally undermine the integrity of the tax …


Beps, Atap, And The New Tax Dialogue: "A Transatlantic Competition?", Reuven Avi-Yonah, Gianluca Mazzoni Sep 2018

Beps, Atap, And The New Tax Dialogue: "A Transatlantic Competition?", Reuven Avi-Yonah, Gianluca Mazzoni

Articles

Since its launch in 2013, the US actively participated in all aspects of the BEPS project. However, until recently, the general view was that following the conclusion of the BEPS negotiations and the change of Administration the US is stepping back from the BEPS process. While the EU was charging ahead with implementing BEPS through the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD), the US stated that it was already in compliance with all BEPS minimum standards and therefore other than Country-by-Country Reporting (CbCR) it had no further BEPS obligations. The US decided not to sign the Multilateral Instrument (MLI) to implement BEPS …


China And Beps, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Haiyan Xu Jan 2018

China And Beps, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Haiyan Xu

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This article provides an overview of China’s reaction to the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project. From 2013 to 2015, the OECD developed a series of actions designed to address BEPS activities by multinational enterprises, culminating in a final report of 15 action steps. The article reviews and explains China’s reaction to the BEPS project and its actions in detail, with a particular focus on transfer pricing issues. It shows that China has actively participated in both developing and implementing the BEPS project. The article further suggests that in the post-BEPS era, China is expected to implement the …


Problems With Destination-Based Corporate Taxes And The Ryan Blueprint, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Kimberly Clausing Apr 2017

Problems With Destination-Based Corporate Taxes And The Ryan Blueprint, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Kimberly Clausing

Articles

With the election of Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s domination of Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s blueprint for fundamental tax reform requires more careful analysis. The Ryan blueprint combines reduced individual rates with a destination-based cash flow type business tax applicable to all businesses. The destination-based business tax at the center of the blueprint has several major problems: It is incompatible with our WTO obligations, it is incompatible with our tax treaties, and it will not eliminate the problems of income shifting and inversions it is designed to address. In addition, these proposals generate vexing technical problems that are …


International Tax Avoidance -- Introduction, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Mar 2017

International Tax Avoidance -- Introduction, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

Tax avoidance and evasion is a hot topic. On the evasion (illegal activity by individuals) front, the various leaks culminating in the Panama Papers have once again revealed the scope of evasion by the global elite. Gabriel Zucman conservatively estimated the annual revenue loss at $200 billion. On the tax avoidance (legal activity by corporations) front, the OECD BEPS project has estimated the scope of avoidance by multinationals at between $100 and $240 billion per year. By comparison, total US corporate tax revenues are about $400 billion per year. The articles in this volume reflect various aspects of these troubling …


Multinational Firms And Tax Havens, Anna Gumpert, James R. Hines Jr., Monika Schnitzer Oct 2016

Multinational Firms And Tax Havens, Anna Gumpert, James R. Hines Jr., Monika Schnitzer

Articles

Multinational firms with operations in high-tax countries can benefit the most from reallocating taxable income to tax havens, though this is sufficiently difficult and costly that only 20.4% of German multinational firms have any tax haven affiliates. Among German manufacturing firms, a 1 percentage point higher foreign tax rate is associated with a 2.3% greater likelihood of owning a tax haven affiliate. This is consistent with tax avoidance incentives and contrasts with earlier evidence for U.S. firms. The relationship is less strong for firms in service industries, possibly reflecting the difficulty of reallocating taxable service income.


Full Circle? The Single Tax Principle, Beps, And The New Us Model, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2016

Full Circle? The Single Tax Principle, Beps, And The New Us Model, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

This paper will argue that while there is some innovation in BEPS, it is in fact more of a continuation that a sharp break with the past. Like Alexis de Tocqueville’s French Revolution, BEPS represents both continuity and change. In particular, the single tax principle has formed the theoretical basis of much of the international tax regime from the beginning. And it is in fact this continuity rather than any sharp change that gives the final BEPS package its promise to, as Secretary General Gurria also promised, “put an end to double non-taxation.”


Evaluating Beps: A Reconsideration Of The Benefits Principle And Proposal For Un Oversight, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Haiyan Xu Jan 2016

Evaluating Beps: A Reconsideration Of The Benefits Principle And Proposal For Un Oversight, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Haiyan Xu

Articles

The Financial Crisis of 2008 and Great Recession that followed have exacerbated income inequality within and between countries. In the aftermath of the economic turbulence, politicians have turned their attention to the twin problems of individual tax evasion and corporate tax avoidance. U.S. legislators enacted the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA), leading to the United States signing a series of Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) for the exchange of tax information. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) developed the Multilateral Agreement for Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAATM) and initiated the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project to …


Who Invented The Single Tax Principle?: An Essay On The History Of Us Treaty Policy, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2015

Who Invented The Single Tax Principle?: An Essay On The History Of Us Treaty Policy, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

In 1997, I wrote an article on the international tax challenges posed by the then-nascent electronic commerce, in which I suggested that the international tax regime is based on two principles: the benefits principle and the single tax principle. The benefits principle states that active (business) income should be taxed primarily by the country of source, and passive (investment) income should be taxed primarily by the country of residence. This is the famous compromise reached by the four economists at the foundation of the regime in 1923 and is not particularly controversial. It is embodied in every one of the …


The Devil In The Details: Reflections On The Camp Draft, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Mar 2014

The Devil In The Details: Reflections On The Camp Draft, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The discussion draft of the Tax Reform Act of 2014 (TRA 14) released by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp, R-Mich., on February 26 represents a major effort for fundamental and far-reaching reform of U.S. tax law. Unfortunately, while many parts of the proposal seem sensible as an effort to bring back the spirit of 1986, the international tax reform proposals are deeply flawed and based on obsolete assumptions of the world that faces U.S. multinationals in 2014.


Back From The Dead: Reviving Transfer Pricing Enforcement, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2014

Back From The Dead: Reviving Transfer Pricing Enforcement, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The OECD has recently come to recognize that the transfer pricing system does not work as intended. In its report on base erosion and profit shifting 2013 WTD 140-17: Other Administrative Documents, the OECD recognizes that BEPS results in revenue losses that affect all states, especially poorer ones; that systematic tax avoidance by the richest and most powerful companies in the world undermines the general legitimacy of taxation; that it gives MNEs significant competitive advantages over purely domestic firms, resulting in inefficient allocations of investment and major distortions to economic activity; and that it skews the decisions of the MNEs …


How Serious Is The Problem Of Base Erosion And Profit Shifting?, James R. Hines Jr. Jan 2014

How Serious Is The Problem Of Base Erosion And Profit Shifting?, James R. Hines Jr.

Articles

In recent years, the problem of base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) by multinational corporations has entered the public consciousness as a potentially important impediment to tax collections. The purpose of this article is to identify the nature of BEPS, consider empirical evidence of its magnitude, and evaluate proposed policy responses. There is considerable evidence that multinational firms arrange their affairs in a tax-sensitive manner, from which it is easy—indeed, perhaps a little too easy—to infer that beps is a serious problem. There are journalistic accounts of apparently spectacular international tax-avoidance schemes used by multinational corporations, though these stories commonly …


Corporate And International Tax Reform: Proposals For The Second Obama Administration (And Beyond), Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2013

Corporate And International Tax Reform: Proposals For The Second Obama Administration (And Beyond), Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

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The passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) offers an opportune moment to consider proposals for corporate and international tax reform. With the debate over individual tax rates for the income and estate tax settled for the present, the President and Congress are free to consider broader reforms. Few observers doubt that such reforms are sorely needed, for several reasons. First, the long-term budgetary outlook is unsustainable. Second, the U.S. corporate tax rate is the highest in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). Third, the current system raises relatively little revenue and large amounts of …


Symposium On International Taxation And Competitiveness: Introduction And Overview, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Nicola Sartori Jan 2012

Symposium On International Taxation And Competitiveness: Introduction And Overview, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Nicola Sartori

Articles

In February, 2012, the Treasury and White House unveiled President Obama's Framework for Business Tax Reform. A major proposal was to abolish the deferral on income earned by foreign subsidiaries of U.S. corporations ("CFCs").


Tax Policy And The Efficiency Of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad, Mihir A. Desai, C. Fritz Foley, James R. Hines Jr. Jan 2011

Tax Policy And The Efficiency Of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad, Mihir A. Desai, C. Fritz Foley, James R. Hines Jr.

Articles

Deferral of U.S. taxes on foreign source income is commonly characterized as a subsidy to foreign investment, as reflected in its inclusion among “tax expenditures” and occasional calls for its repeal. This paper analyzes the extent to which tax deferral and other policies inefficiently subsidize U.S. direct investment abroad. Investments are dynamically inefficient if they consistently generate less in returns to investors than they absorb in new investment funds. From 1982–2010, repatriated earnings from foreign affiliates exceeded net capital investments by $1.1 trillion in 2010 dollars, and from 1950–2010, repatriated earnings and net interest from foreign affiliates exceeded net equity …


Comparative Tax Law: Theory And Practice, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Guy Inbar, Omri Marian, Linneu Mello Jan 2010

Comparative Tax Law: Theory And Practice, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Guy Inbar, Omri Marian, Linneu Mello

Articles

On 3 October 2009, a Conference on Comparative Tax Law in Theory and Practice took place at the University of Michigan Law School. It was organized by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Professor, University of Michigan Law School) and Mathias Reimann (Editor, American Journal of Comparative Law and Professor, University of Michigan Law School), and was attended by Hugh Ault (Professor of Law, Boston College Law School), Victor Thuronyi (Senior Counsel, International Monetary Fund), Brian Arnold (Professor Emeritus, University of Western Ontario), William Barker (Professor, The Dickinson School of Law, Penn State), Michael Livingston (Professor, Rutgers School of Law-Camden), Carlo Garbarino (Professor of …


Reply To Becker And Fuest, James R. Hines Jr. Jan 2010

Reply To Becker And Fuest, James R. Hines Jr.

Articles

It is an understatement to say that the appropriate taxation of foreign business income is a controversial and potentially confusing topic. One of the mysteries of international taxation has been that the prescriptions of what, until recently, was the accepted academic wisdom differs so sharply from widespread international practice. In an important contribution, Richman (1963) noted that a home government confronted with the choice of where it would prefer one of its resident taxpayers to allocate a single unit of capital would weigh the after-foreign-tax return from investing abroad against the pre-tax return from investing at home. From this observation, …


Tax Competition, Tax Arbitrage And The International Tax Regime, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2007

Tax Competition, Tax Arbitrage And The International Tax Regime, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

In the past ten years, I have argued repeatedly that a coherent international tax regime exists, embodied both in the tax treaty network and in domestic laws, and that it forms a significant part of international law (both treaty-based and customary). The practical implication is that countries are not free to adopt any international tax rules they please, but rather operate in the context of the regime, which changes in the same ways international law changes over time. Thus, unilateral action is possible, but is also restricted, and countries are generally reluctant to take unilateral actions that violate the basic …


Taxation And Multinational Activity: New Evidence, New Interpretations, Mihir A. Desai, C. Fritz Foley, James R. Hines Jr. Jan 2006

Taxation And Multinational Activity: New Evidence, New Interpretations, Mihir A. Desai, C. Fritz Foley, James R. Hines Jr.

Articles

In the midst of rapid integration and globalization, multinational firms still face tax systems that differ among countries, and these differences have the potential to affect major investment and financing decisions. This research covers a wide range of topics, including the impact of indirect taxes as well as of corporate income taxes, the sensitivity of financing decisions to tax rates, the effects of taxes on repatriation policies, the demand for, and impact of, tax havens, and the use of indirect ownership as a means of avoiding taxes. The behavior of US multinational firms as revealed by the evidence collected by …


All Of A Piece Throughout: The Four Ages Of U.S. International Taxation, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2005

All Of A Piece Throughout: The Four Ages Of U.S. International Taxation, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

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This paper divides up the history of U.S. international taxation into four periods, on the basis of what was the basic theoretical principle underlying the major legislative enactments made in each period. The first period lasted from the adoption of the Foreign Tax Credit in 1918 to the end of the Eisenhower Administration, and was dominated by the concept of the right to tax as flowing from benefits conferred by the taxing state. The second period lasted from 1960 until the end of the Carter Administration, and was dominated by the concept of capital export neutrality and an emphasis on …


The Pitfalls Of International Integration: A Comment On The Bush Proposal And Its Aftermath, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2005

The Pitfalls Of International Integration: A Comment On The Bush Proposal And Its Aftermath, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

In January 2003, the Bush Administration proposed a new system for taxing corporate dividends, under which domestic shareholders in U.S. corporations would not be taxed on dividends they received, provided the corporation distributed these dividends out of after-tax earnings (the “Bush Proposal”). The Bush Proposal was introduced in Congress on February 27, 2003. Ultimately, however, Congress balked at enacting full-?edged dividend exemption. Instead, in the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (“JGTRRA”) as enacted on May 28, 2003, a lower rate of 15% was adopted for dividends paid by domestic and certain foreign corporations,1 and the capital …


International Tax Law As International Law, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2004

International Tax Law As International Law, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

Is international tax law part of international law? To an international lawyer, the question posed probably seems ridiculous. Of course international tax law is part of international law, just like tax treaties are treaties. But to an international tax lawyer, the question probably seems less obvious, because most international tax lawyers do not think of themselves primarily as international lawyers (public or private), but rather as tax lawyers who happen to deal with crossborder transactions. And indeed, once one delves into the details, it becomes clear that in some ways international tax law is different from "regular" international law. For …


(How) Should Trade Agreements Deal With Income Tax Issues?, Joel Slemrod, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2002

(How) Should Trade Agreements Deal With Income Tax Issues?, Joel Slemrod, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

What is the relationship between the international tax regime, as embodied in bilateral international tax treaties, and multilateral free trade agreements like the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATr)?' Are their fundamental goals consistent or inconsistent? If they are inconsistent, should the tax treaties or the GATT be changed to remedy the inconsistency? If they are consistent, should the scope of either be expanded to include the other?


Treating Tax Issues Through Trade Regimes (Symposium: International Tax Policy In The New Millennium), Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2001

Treating Tax Issues Through Trade Regimes (Symposium: International Tax Policy In The New Millennium), Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

Professor Paul R. McDaniel has performed an extremely valuable service in clarifying the relationship between trade and tax law. In particular, he has done so by pointing out that, to a large extent, the two spheres do not overlap, much less clash in their objectives. This makes sense because, fundamentally, the goal of trade law is to facilitate trade, while the goal of tax law is to raise revenue. Thus, for example, an ideal tariff under trade law is set at zero, but an ideal tax under tax law is set at some positive rate. It therefore should not be …


Globalization And Tax Competition: Implications For Developing Countries, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2001

Globalization And Tax Competition: Implications For Developing Countries, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

This article analyses the effects of tax competition on developing countries. Since the 1980s, globalization and greater capital mobility have led many developing countries to adopt the policy of competing with one another to attract capital investment. One of the main forms taken by this competition has been the granting of tax holidays and other tax reductions to investing multinationals. This paper reviews the normative arguments for and against this type of tax competition, from a global perspective. It then examines these arguments in depth from the point of view of developing countries. The conclusion in general is that, since …


Globalization And Tax Competition: Implications For Developing Countries, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2001

Globalization And Tax Competition: Implications For Developing Countries, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

The current age of globalization can be distinguished from the previous one (from 1870 to 1914) by the much higher mobility of capital than labor (in the previous age, before immigration restrictions, labor was at least as mobile as capital). This increased mobility has been the result of technological changes (the ability to move funds electronically), and the relaxation of exchange controls. The mobility of capital has led to tax competition, in which sovereign countries lower their tax rates on income earned by foreigners within their borders in order to attract both portfolio and direct investment. Tax competition, in turn, …