Volume 46 (2018) / Issue 4

Pablo A. Hernández González-Barreda, 'A Historical Analysis of the BEPS Action Plan: Old Acquaintances, New Friends and the Need for a New Approach' (2018) 46 Intertax, Issue 4, pp. 278–295


In 2012, public opinion focussed on what has been called ‘aggressive tax planning of multinational enterprises’. Since then, the G20 and OECD developed the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan – a phenomenon that has received enormous attention. Despite this attention, the efforts, methodology and outcomes, and the instruments used to implement them, pose very little innovation. This article analyses the issues raised by the BEPS Action Plan from a historical perspective, showing that they remain grounded on the same basis of discussions that took place decades ago. This is probably because the project was triggered by a decrease in tax revenue, and not by an actual study of the failures of the system. The only real innovation of the BEPS Project is the change in the public state of mind and attitude towards tax planning, as well as a totally new way of developing international tax rules through consensus with the participation of a broad number of countries. Future steps should take advantage of this actual innovation, get rid of previous analysis and, taking into account of the current economic situation, study (1) the structure of the tax system and tax burden; (2) the jurisdiction to tax rules and the source and residence principles; and (3) the relationship between private law and tax law, i.e. legal personality and recognition of foreign persons and contracts. Without such in-depth analysis, any changes would be changes that only deepen already existent failing principles forming the base of the current system.

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ISSN: 0165-2826
ID: TAXI2018030