June 13, 2021

what Europe could gain

The crisis and the election of Joe Biden as President of the United States have accelerated the movement: never have the major countries been so close to agreeing on a global minimum rate of corporate tax (IS). While the subject will be on the agenda of the meeting of G7 finance ministers, on Friday June 4 and Saturday June 5 in London, a study published on Tuesday 1is June gives an estimate of the sums that the European Union (EU) could recover if such an agreement were reached. “Depending on the scenarios and the rate used, EU tax revenues linked to this tax could swell from 13% to 50%”, summarizes Gabriel Zucman, economist at the University of Berkeley (California) and director of the European Taxation Observatory, at the origin of the study.

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Hosted by the Paris School of Economics, this observatory created in March 2021, following a call for projects from the European Commission (which funds it), is responsible for providing studies on taxation and thoughts on the subject. It is urgent: while the Covid-19 pandemic has widened abysmal public deficits, States are exploring all avenues to replenish public coffers in the post-crisis period and put an end to tax competition.

For the moment, multinationals are free to choose the country where they wish to be taxed, favoring those with low taxation or tax havens. But the discussions held under the aegis of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) since 2019, involving 139 countries, aim to impose a common minimum rate on them, and to modulate the tax according to the profits made in each country. country, regardless of the location of the headquarters.

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In this context, the Observatory’s study focuses on what its researchers call the “fiscal deficit”, that is to say the difference between what a company pays in taxes today and what it would have to pay if it were subject to a minimum tax rate in each country in which it operates. She draws up three scenarios. The first is where an agreement comparable to that discussed by the OECD would establish a minimum rate of 25% for the year 2021. “In this case, each European country would collect the fiscal deficit for each of its multinationals”, explains Mr. Zucman, whose proposals on the taxation of the rich inspired, in the United States, the program of the Democrats.

“Making the taxation of the European Union fairer”

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