by Julie Martin
The OECD on June 9 asked multinational firms to provide feedback regarding their experiences with the tax dispute resolution processes in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Korea, Norway, Poland, Singapore and Spain.
The eight countries’ mutual agreement procedures (MAPs) for resolving tax treaty disputes are being scrutinized by the BEPS Inclusive Framework, a group of over 100 countries that have pledged to implement OECD/G20 Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) project outcomes.
Similar requests for feedback have been previously been issued with respect to the MAP in 13 other countries and requests regarding more countries are slated to follow.
The OECD is seeking responses to questions regarding the access to MAP in each country, the clarity and availability of MAP guidance, and whether MAP agreements are implemented in a timely manner.
Earlier this week, Achim Pross, Head of International Cooperation and Tax Administration at the OECD, said that it is important for taxpayers to provide this feedback because the competent authorities conducting the peer reviews have no other way to the answer some of the questions.
Speaking at the 2017 OECD International Tax Conference, cosponsored by the OECD, USCIB, and BIAC, Pross said that taxpayers’ help is needed to advise if there are problems with respect to access to map in a country, as that information may not otherwise be discoverable by peer countries.
Taxpayers are also needed to advise if a country’s MAP guidance is not clear. Peer competent authorities do not necessarily speak the same language as an assessed jurisdiction and thus can not easily determine if this is an issue or not, he said.
Also, other competent authorities can not easily find out if a MAP agreement is reached but not implemented, said Pross.
Pascal Saint-Amans, Director of the Center for Tax Policy & Administration at the OECD said that the peer review process is a “game changer” that will yield benefits because the frequent contact among competent authorities has created an atmosphere of trust.
He said that the point of the peer review is to make countries “look good.” Countries with more problematic MAP programs will be assessed later, so they have time to improve their processes. He said he is already seeing significant improvements.