OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

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Anti-avoidance rules against international tax planning

A classification

This paper describes the main anti-avoidance rules against international tax planning by multinational enterprises in OECD and G20 countries. Building on this information and on previous classification efforts in the literature, a new classification of anti-avoidance strength is compiled. It takes into account five key dimensions of anti-avoidance: (i) transfer price rules and documentation requirements; (ii) rules on interest deductibility such as thin capitalisation and interest-to-earnings rules to prevent the manipulation of debt location; (iii) controlled foreign company (CFC) rules; (iv) general anti-avoidance rules (GAARs); and (v) withholding taxes on interest payments, royalties and dividends, taking into account bilateral tax treaties. The classification is based on a simple framework aiming to capture the main features of anti-avoidance rules in a harmonised way across countries, although it inevitably leaves aside certain country-specific characteristics as well as the enforcement of existing rules. The empirical analysis in Johansson et al., (2016), which is based on this classification, suggests that strong anti-avoidance rules can reduce profit shifting.


Keywords: anti-avoidance rules, international tax planning
JEL: F23: International Economics / International Factor Movements and International Business / Multinational Firms; International Business; K34: Law and Economics / Other Substantive Areas of Law / Tax Law; H26: Public Economics / Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue / Tax Evasion and Avoidance
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