Corporate Tax Deal ‘In Sight’ As G7 Meets

Group of Seven finance ministers are set to kick off talks on Friday, with Europeans optimistic the world’s wealthiest countries will support US-backed plans for a minimum global level of corporate tax.

British finance minister Rishi Sunak will host the meeting — which is being held in person after an easing of Covid restrictions — with counterparts from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

The talks will prepare the ground for a broader summit of G7 leaders in Cornwall, southwest England starting on June 11, which will be attended by US President Joe Biden on his first foreign tour since taking office in January.

According to a draft communique seen by AFP, the finance chiefs and central bankers of the world’s seven richest nations will express “strong support” and a “high level of ambition” over a global minimum corporate tax.

They then hope to reach broader agreement at a G20 finance meeting scheduled for July.

Ministers also plan to commit to “sustain policy support”, or stimulus, for “as long as necessary” to nurture economic recovery, while addressing climate change and inequalities in society, according to the document.

Furthermore, they will urge “equitable, safe and affordable access to Covid-19 vaccines” everywhere in order to fully overcome the deadly pandemic.

And the thorny topic of the regulation of digital currencies such as bitcoin will also be on the agenda.

Biden has called for a unified minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent in negotiations with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and G20.

His proposal has so far won broad support from countries such as France and Germany, as well as the International Monetary Fund.

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (L, with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen) is hosting the G7 meeting on plans for a minimum global level of corporate tax Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (L, with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen) is hosting the G7 meeting on plans for a minimum global level of corporate tax Photo: POOL / HANNAH MCKAY

A deal on a minimum corporate tax rate is “within sight”, finance ministers from France, Germany, Italy and non-G7 member Spain declared on Friday.

“We have a chance to get multinational businesses to pay their fair share,” France’s Bruno Le Maire, Germany’s Olaf Scholz, Italy’s Daniele Franco and Spain’s Nadia Calvino said in The Guardian newspaper.

“For more than four years, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have been working together to create an international tax system fit for the 21st century,” added the four ministers.

“It is a saga of many twists and turns. Now it’s time to come to an agreement.”

Britain, the current G7 host, has sat on the fence and called for wider tax reforms.

Ireland has expressed “significant reservations” about Biden’s plan. Its 12.5 percent tax rate is one of the lowest in the world, prompting tech giants such as Facebook and Google to make Ireland the home of their European operations.

Proponents argue that a minimum tax is necessary to stem competition between countries over who can offer multinationals the lowest rate.

They say that a “race to the bottom” saps revenues that could go to other government priorities.

The corporate tax is one of two pillars in efforts for global fiscal reforms, the other being a “digital tax” that would allow countries to tax the profits of multinationals that are headquartered overseas.

Britain wants multinationals to pay taxes that reflect their operations, as nations across the world seek to repair virus-battered finances.

“Securing a global agreement on digital taxation has also been a key priority this year,” Sunak said in a statement.

“We want companies to pay the right amount of tax in the right place, and I hope we can reach a fair deal with our partners.”

Britain, which later hosts the COP26 UN climate summit in November, also wants the G7 to embrace a green recovery.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.