Country-by-country reporting : tension between transparency and tax planning


Evers, Maria Theresia ; Meier, Ina ; Spengel, Christoph


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URL: https://ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/42001
URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-420013
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2017
The title of a journal, publication series: ZEW Discussion Papers
Volume: 17-008
Place of publication: Mannheim
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > ABWL u. Betriebswirtschaftliche Steuerlehre II (Spengel)
Sonstige Einrichtungen > Zentrum für Europ. Wirtschaftsforschung (ZEW)
MADOC publication series: Veröffentlichungen des ZEW (Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung) > ZEW Discussion Papers
Subject: 330 Economics
Classification: JEL: H20, H26, F23, K34, M41,
Keywords (English): tax avoidance , profit shifting , multinational firms , tax reform , tax reporting , country-by-country reporting , international transfer pricing
Abstract: Aggressive tax planning efforts of highly profitable multinational companies (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)) have become the subject of intense public debate in recent years. As a response, several international initiatives and parties have called for more transparency in financial reporting, especially by means of a Country-by-Country Reporting (CbCR). In line with that, the OECD and the European Commission have recently presented proposals for a comprehensive disclosure of country-specific tax -related information for companies in all industry sectors. In our paper, we demonstrate that neither consolidated or individual financial statements nor other existing data sources seem to be an appropriate basis for providing such country-specific information. Instead, it would be necessary to define detailed and harmonized definitions and regulations to ensure comparability. The discussion on benefits and costs of a CbCR reveals that benefits (at least partially) lack a theoretical foundation and, overall, do not seem to outweigh associated costs. This holds true, in particular, since current tax planning activities are mainly based on the legal exploitation of gaps and loopholes in national and international tax law. Instead, we argue that tax legislators should limit profit shiting by enforcing tax rules and by closing gaps in tax law. In particular, we call for more tightened and standardized transfer pricing regulations and thin-cap rules to be adopted at an international level.

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Evers, Maria Theresia ; Meier, Ina ; Spengel, Christoph (2017) Country-by-country reporting : tension between transparency and tax planning. Open Access ZEW Discussion Papers Mannheim 17-008 [Working paper]
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