11/07/2016 – Interested parties are invited to provide comments on a discussion draft which deals with elements of the design and operation of the group ratio rule under Action 4 (Interest deductions and other financial payments) of the BEPS Action Plan.

In October 2015, the BEPS Action 4 Report Limiting Base Erosion Involving Interest Deductions and Other Financial Payments set out a common approach to address BEPS involving interest and payments economically equivalent to interest. This included a ‘fixed ratio rule’ which limits an entity’s net interest deductions to a set percentage of its taxable earnings before interest income and expense, depreciation and amortisation (tax-EBITDA). Recognising that groups may be leveraged differently for non-tax reasons, the Report also recommended that countries consider introducing a ‘group ratio rule’ to allow an entity to claim higher net interest deductions, based on a relevant financial ratio of its worldwide group. The Report included a detailed outline of a rule based on the net third party interest/EBITDA ratio of a consolidated financial reporting group, and provided that further work would be conducted in 2016 on elements of the design and operation of the rule, focussing on approaches –

  • to calculate a group’s net third party interest income
  • to define of group-EBITDA
  • to deal with the impact of losses on the operation of the rule.

The discussion draft does not change any of the conclusions agreed in the Report, but provides an additional layer of technical detail to assist countries in implementing the group ratio rule in line with the common approach. It examines alternative approaches to key aspects of the rule and emphasises the importance of a consistent approach in providing protection for countries and reducing compliance costs for groups, while including some flexibility for a country to take into account particular features of its tax law and policy. The options included in this discussion draft do not represent the consensus view of the Committee on Fiscal Affairs (CFA) or its subsidiary bodies, but are intended to provide stakeholders with substantive options for analysis and comment.

The Action 4 Report calls for this work to be completed in 2016. As part of the transparent and inclusive consultation process mandated by the Action Plan, the CFA invites interested parties to send comments on this discussion draft, including responses to the specific questions identified in the discussion draft where input is required to advance this work.

[OECD release] [LTN 132, 12/7/16]