The Institute of Directors has publishes its response to the Government’s
latest consultation on how to amend the way profits made by overseas divisons of
UK-based multinationals are taxed.
The issue has remained unresolved for a number of years to the frustration of
business heavyweights looking for some clarity.
Richard Baron, Head of Taxation at the IoD, said: “Most importantly, the tax
system must recognise business realities. It must not impose artificial
divisions between types of transaction that, in commercial terms, cannot
sensibly be separated.
“And it must not be too expensive to administer. Anything beyond the absolute
minimum administrative burden is sheer waste”.
The foreign companies regime allows the UK to tax the profits of some
companies that are resident in low-tax jurisdictions and that are owned by UK
The IoD said governement officials deserve credit for a well-run consultation
so far, but urged the government to ensure future consultation processes were
well-designed and did not use “ill-defined” terms.
“Business cannot work with ill-defined terms,” the IoD said. “In this case,
European Court decisions mean that the regime can only target “wholly artificial
We need to know precisely what will count as ‘wholly artificial’. How much
tax planning will be caught?”
The Iod said the new regime should also make it easy to identify low-tax
jurisdictions, by having a test that is based on the headline tax rate, with a
short list of countries that are caught regardless of their headline rates.
The IoD called for one more consultation on the specifics of the new regime,
before moving on to draft legislation in December.
The tax regime must work with the grain of commercial practice, the IoD
“One concern is that the new controlled foreign companies regime might impose
an artificial boundary between routine group cash management and lending between
group companies, when in reality they form a continuum,” the IoD added.
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