WASHINGTON, June 2 Republican tax law writers in
the U.S. Congress and multinational businesses on Monday said
international talks aimed at preventing companies from moving
profits to low-tax countries could hurt the United States.
Representative Dave Camp and Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah
warned of the effect on U.S. taxpayers from the Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) work to develop
multilateral tax rules.
Known as the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)
project, the OECD effort calls for revising tax treaties,
tightening rules and more government tax information sharing.
The OECD, a Paris-based grouping of large economies, is
scheduled to finish the BEPS project by the end of next year.
But some foreign countries are taking "aggressive actions"
to levy more taxes on U.S. companies before the BEPS project is
completed, said Camp, chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means
Committee in the House of Representatives.
"We are concerned that the BEPS project is now being used as
a way for other countries to simply increase taxes on American
taxpayers," Camp said in a joint statement with Hatch of Utah.
The Republicans' remarks came as corporate and government
tax officials on Monday met at a conference to debate the BEPS
Speaking at the conference, a senior U.S. Treasury
Department official blamed the United States, in part, for BEPS.
The U.S. government has not thoroughly overhauled its tax code
since 1986, leaving it riddled with loopholes that allow
multinationals to game the system.
"Tax competition hangs in the air ... is our own
failure in the United States to do tax reform," said Robert
Stack, Treasury's deputy assistant secretary for international
tax affairs, at the conference.
BEPS got started in 2012 in discussions among European and
U.S. leaders about multinationals not paying their fair share of
taxes and governments' corporate tax bases being undermined.
Multinational businesses can avoid a potential wave of new
taxes by supporting, rather than resisting BEPS, a senior tax
official with General Electric Co said at the conference.
"The only thing that worries me more than BEPS succeeding is
BEPS failing," said Will Morris of GE, who also heads the
Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC), a lobby group.
"We need to be involved in this project," Morris said,
adding that if the project fails, "many countries are going to
(Reporting by Patrick Temple-West; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh
and Cynthia Osterman)