Global Tax Overhaul Gains Steam as G20 Backs New Levies
“For the United States, it’s going to be a fundamental shift in how we choose to compete in the world economy,” Ms. Yellen said. “Not a competition based on rock-bottom tax rates, but rather on the skills of our work force, our ability to innovate and our fundamental talents.”Policymakers continue to grapple with what the global minimum tax rate will be and what exactly will be subject to the tax.A separate proposal calls for an additional tax on the largest and most profitable multinational enterprises, those with profit margins of at least 10 percent. Officials want to apply that tax to at least 20 percent of profit exceeding that 10 percent margin for those companies, but continue to debate how the proceeds would be divided among countries around the world. Developing economies are pushing to ensure that they will get their fair share.Mr. Bradley, of the Chamber, said that the details of a final agreement would determine how punitive it would be for companies. Representatives from Google and Facebook have been in touch with senior Treasury officials as the process has played out.American businesses are also worried about being put at a disadvantage by a 21 percent tax that President Biden has proposed on their overseas profits, if their foreign competitors are only paying 15 percent. The Biden administration also wants to raise the domestic corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent. Democrats in Congress are moving forward with legislation to make those changes to the tax code this year.“If a U.S. company is trying to compete globally with a significantly higher tax burden because of this significantly higher minimum tax on its operations, that’s a competitive issue for being able to be successful,” said Barbara Angus, a global tax policy leader at Ernst & Young.Washington and Europe also remain at odds over how to tax digital giants like Google and Amazon. At the G20 summit, finance ministers expressed optimism that such obstacles could be overcome. In his closing news conference after the deal was reached, Daniele Franco, Italy’s finance minister, hailed the agreement as historic and called on the countries that had yet to join to reconsider.“To accept global rules is, for each country, difficult. Each country has to be prepared to compromise,” Mr. Franco said. “To have worldwide rules for taxing multinationals, for taxing the profits of big companies is a major change, is a major achievement.”Liz Alderman contributed reporting from Paris, and Eshe Nelson from London.