The finance ministers of the major industrial and commercial countries, including Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), have themselves in Venice Agreed on plans for a minimum tax of 15 percent to prevent tax evasion and on a new distribution of the rights to tax international companies among the states. The final questions should be clarified by October, when the heads of government of the G20 countries should agree.
»There is no turning back«
France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire described the agreement in Venice as an opportunity of the century. “There is no turning back. We're putting an end to the tax race to the bottom, ”he said. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen agreed: "The world is ready (...) and there is a broad consensus on how this should be done: With a global minimum tax of at least 15 percent," said Yellen. She called for the agreement to be implemented quickly.
The ministers called on those countries that have so far rejected the plans to join the agreement. Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) spoke of a "historic" decision.
The agreement should create a "more stable and fairer international tax architecture", the final declaration said. A breakthrough was achieved on July 1 in the negotiations on a global minimum tax for large corporations within the framework of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). 132 of 139 members of the so-called Inclusive Framework of the OECD currently support the project.
"Finally, large corporations can no longer evade their tax liability," wrote Scholz on the Twitter online service. "Now it is time to implement it so that the tax can take effect from 2023."
Criticism from the Union
The Union faction in Bundestag criticized the decision. "Instead of a big step towards more tax justice, we are experiencing exactly the opposite," said the CDU MP Antje Tillmann, financial policy spokeswoman for the Union parliamentary group, on Saturday. None of the goals of the OECD-Project to reform the world tax system, which the parliamentary group has supported since the beginning, would be achieved with the reform that has now been decided.
Almost all 139 OECD countries have already approved the reform at working level, including well-known tax havens. On the other hand, the three EU states are among the refusal Ireland, Estonia and Hungary. An international agreement is to be concluded for the new distribution rules. The minimum tax must be implemented individually in the states.
"It is completely unclear who will keep their word here in the next few years"
“Originally, the idea was intended to limit ruinous tax competition. Instead, despite the agreement, the 132 states that have agreed can now choose for themselves whether they want to introduce minimum taxation, ”Tillmann criticized. “It is completely unclear who will keep their word here for the next few years. It is even unclear whether the EU will participate, since three member states are among the seven critics, but we need their approval for an EU-wide introduction. «Exceptions for the financial sector and the extractive industry also consolidated» the exploitation of developing countries and leave them in international tax competition alone, ”she complained.
The rule is expected to affect fewer than 10.000 companies worldwide. Nevertheless, with a minimum tax of 15 percent, the OECD expects more than 126 billion euros in additional tax revenue per year.