Volume 46 (2018) / Issue 12
The international tax debate as regards hybrid entities has certainly changed after the OECD BEPS Project. Since then, the trend has been focused exclusively on matching transactions involving hybrids and reverse hybrid entities and double non-taxation, however without questioning whether these two elements are necessarily interconnected or whether they should serve each other in the design of domestic anti-hybrid provisions. This is particularly evident as regards the notion of ‘hybrid (entity) mismatch arrangements’ the design of which is based on the assumption that income should be taxed somewhere – no matter where – and as regards the complex set of domestic solutions proposed (‘linking rules’) the true efficacy of which is nevertheless still unknown.
In this vein, this article adopts a critical approach both as regards the diagnosis of the problems and as regards the solutions proposed. As to the diagnosis, the author argues that the artificial attempt to match transactions involving hybrid entities and double non-taxation not only disregards the fundamental issue as regards hybrid entity mismatches (i.e. the disparate tax characterization of the same entity by two different states), but also carries with it the risk of creating presumptions of abusive practices in all those cases in which a hybrid entity structure is simply not taxed at all. As to the remedies, the author argues against the complexity, excessive reliance on foreign laws and potential economic double taxation issues that the implementation of linking rules might cause from a tax policy perspective. From a practical perspective, the author questions the proper interaction between linking rules and other anti-base erosion provisions, such as interest limitations and CFC rules. This article ultimately concludes that a re-orientation in the international debate regarding hybrids and reverse hybrid entities is crucial in order to open the door for more fundamental – and perhaps also more coordinated – solutions.
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