During a panel discussion today hosted by the American Action Forum, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy Dorothy Coleman warned that recent recommendations coming out of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project, spearheaded by the G-20 and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), could undermine the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers and threaten the confidentiality of their most sensitive business information. The event, titled “Evaluating the BEPS Initiative: Who Wins, Who Loses and What Matters Most,” examined the potential impact of the OECD’s BEPS plan and featured keynote remarks from House Ways and Means member Charles Boustany (R-LA).
Participating in an expert panel moderated by The Wall Street Journal’s Richard Rubin and including Thomas Neubig of the OECD, Coleman specifically emphasized manufacturers’ concerns about the BEPS plan’s so-called “master file” requirements, a component of the project’s tax and business information reporting recommendations that would force companies to disclose unprecedented amounts of sensitive business information to foreign tax authorities with no confidentiality protections or safeguards against misuse of the information. She noted that the master file would impose substantial and unnecessary new compliance costs on U.S. manufacturers and, in the case of private companies, force disclosure of proprietary information.
Coleman applauded legislation recently introduced by Rep. Boustany, which would require the federal government to withhold country-by-country reports from countries that abuse master file documentation requirements or fail to keep master file information confidential. She also noted that, while the country-by-country reporting will impose new compliance costs on companies, the NAM supports efforts by the Treasury to issue guidance to allow U.S. global companies to fill country-by-country reports with the IRS and have that information exchanged with other countries under agreements that ensure the information will be kept confidential.
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