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Tassazione internazionale delle società - PARTE I Clamep Tassazione e mercati finanziari Clasda 1.10.2008-3.11.2008 LEZIONE 5 Modelli alternativi di imposizione.

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Presentazione sul tema: "Tassazione internazionale delle società - PARTE I Clamep Tassazione e mercati finanziari Clasda 1.10.2008-3.11.2008 LEZIONE 5 Modelli alternativi di imposizione."— Transcript della presentazione:

1 Tassazione internazionale delle società - PARTE I Clamep Tassazione e mercati finanziari Clasda LEZIONE 5 Modelli alternativi di imposizione societaria

2 2 Diverse forme di imposizione del reddito di impresa Base imponibile: Rendimento lordo sul capitale proprio (equity) Rendimento lordo sul capitale complessivo (debt + equity) Solo rendite (rendimento in eccesso a quello normale)

3 3

4 4 1. Imposta tradizionale sui profitti alla fonte La base è definita sottraendo ai ricavi netti (net cash flow from real transactions, excluding net capital spending, i.e. sales of goods and services minus purchases of goods and services minus labour costs) lammortamento e gli interessi passivi d= indica variabili relative a economia interna f = indica variabili relative a economia estera Il reddito estero è escluso dalla base imponibile. Lo stesso risultato (imposta alla fonte) vale nel sistema 2 (imposta basata sulla residenza, per le società), se il profitto non è reimpatriato o se cè excess credit. Sistema solitamente molto distorsivo: debt vs equity allocazione internazionale forma organizzativa politica dei dividendi

5 5 Imposta sugli azionisti alla residenza Piena imputazione in capo allazionista (residente) di tutti i redditi, alla maturazione Solo lazionista è colui che ha capacità contributiva Neutrale rispetto a diverse forme organizzative e fonti di finanziamento Ma… Difficile da applicare Possibili problemi di liquidità e informativi Se tassazione utili non distribuiti è alla realizzazione (per difficoltà di tassare alla maturazione), si apre varco elusivo (non ci sarebbe CT alla fonte, in questo sistema) Poco realistica…

6 6 Imposta sulle società alla residenza Il credito dovrebbe essere senza limitazioni (versione pura opzione 2 della tavola) Anche con credito limitato la abolizione del deferral (la tassazione avviene indipendentemente dal fatto che il reddito sia reimpatriato) avrebbe comunque leffetto di disincentivare gli investimenti nei paesi a bassa aliquota Ma… Difficile da applicare Società MN (e loro capogrupo) sono mobili (sposto la residenza capogruppo nei paesi a tassazione inferiore) Poco realistica…

7 7 Imposte sulla residenza The notion of residence-based corporation tax which we aim to discuss here, though, is one that taxes the worldwide earnings of the multinational as it accrues, rather than as it is repatriated to the parent company. As with a residence-based shareholder tax, taxing only repatriations may generate a strong incentive for the company to reinvest abroad, without returning retained earnings to the parent. Even when countries attempt to implement a tax on repatriations, they typically give credit for taxes paid abroad. There are various ways of giving such credit, but the net effect is that skilled tax managers can arrange the groups financial affairs to prevent significant liabilities to such home country tax. Thus, application of the residence principle to corporations, in practice, bears a strong resemblance to source-based taxation. (Auerbach et al. 2008)

8 8 Tassazione sulle rendite: cash flow alla fonte Gli investimenti (I) interni sono immediatamente deducibili… … non lo è invece il costo finanziario METR= 0 (neutrale rispetto a scala I) Due tipi di Cash Flow: R, R+F, S base Aspetto internazionale Se tassazione alla fonte: base imponibile cash flow derivante da vendite allinterno o allestero al netto beni intermedi interni o importati, inclusi gli acquisti di beni capitali e al netto dei costi del lavoro (vedi definizione di R) AETR>0: vi è distorsione nelle scelte di localizzazione se le rendite sono mobili

9 9 Diverse tipologie di cash flow tax Si mantiene il principio di derivazione della BI dal bilancio Si considerano IAS/ IRFS un buon punto di partenza, ma non tutti li adottano… Proposta di base comune non individuerà, dati i diversi punti di partenza (criteri contabili) gli aggiustamenti necessari (il quadro di raccordo).

10 10 Table 2 provides a simple outline of the R, R+F and S bases. Under these bases, taxing only rent is achieved by allowing all expenses to be deduced from taxable profits as they are incurred, essentially taxing positive (inward) and (negative) outward cash flows at the same rate. In practice, as outlined below for the UK system, many corporate tax systems do tax the normal return to capital in addition to economic rent, thus affecting the cost of capital and potentially introducing distortions in firms choices over different forms of finance. ….. Under the R base, no distinction is made between debt and equity. Regardless of how funds are raised, there are no taxes on the flows between businesses and their investors. Thus, businesses may choose among debt, equity and hybrid securities without consideration of the tax consequences. Under the R+F base, however, a timing distinction would remain between debt and equity, with equity being ignored by the tax system and debt being provided an effective marginal tax rate of zero through offsetting taxes on borrowing and interest and principal repayments. ……..

11 11 ….The R base would seem a preferable policy to the R+F base from this perspective but…. Under the R base, financial proceeds and expenses are ignored, so that firms providing the same customers with both real and financial products have an incentive to overstate the profits from financial services and understate the profits from real activities. A related problem concerns financial companies …. The returns that financial companies earn from the spreads generated by financial intermediation are automatically picked up by the R+F base but ignored under the R base. Innovation in finance thus favours the R-base version of the Meade reports company tax system, while the growing importance of companies that specialize or engage in providing financial services calls for the R+F base. Which approach is to be preferred is discussed further below, but the benefits of either approach are clear in comparison to a system that attempts to maintain an even greater distinction between debt and equity….. (Auerbach et. al. 2008)

12 12 A cash flow tax on the real and/or financial surplus of firms allows an immediate expensing of investment. Because the present value of the cash flows from a marginal investment is just equal to the initial investment outlay, the cash flow tax therefore leaves marginal investment projects free of tax, falling only on pure rents. In a closed economy this feature would ensure that a cash flow tax would be non-distortionary. However, in an open economy the rents earned by multinational companies often derive from firm-specific assets and may be generated in many alternative locations. When the fixed costs of doing business are so large that multinationals choose to serve several national markets from a single location rather than producing in all countries, a cash flow tax on internationally mobile rents will therefore affect the international location decisions of multinationals, even though it will not reduce the privately optimal scale of local investment once a company has decided to locate in a particular country. (Sorensen, 2007)

13 13 …. a source-based flow-of-funds tax leaves some distortions in place, in particular with respect to two important location decisions. Companies making discrete location choices will normally consider alternative locations on the basis of a comparison of the post-tax net present value. In general this would be affected by a flow-of-funds tax. Also, the question of the location of the source of the profit is not resolved by a source-based flow-of-funds tax. Indeed, the incentives to shift profit may be greater under a flow-of-funds tax to the extent to which a revenue-neutral reform which introduced a flow-of-funds tax would require a higher statutory tax rate (this is discussed further below). In turn, this would create greater incentives for shifting profits between jurisdictions. It may also induce the most profitable firms to move abroad, leaving the domestic economy with the less profitable firms. (Auerbach et. al, 2008)

14 14 …. Three further well-known problems should also be mentioned. The first concerns transition effects. If introduced without an appropriate phasing in period (which could be very long), then existing capital would be more heavily taxed than new investment. To some extent that might be regarded as efficient, if inequitable. However, treating competing companies unequally might introduce distortions to competition and hence welfare costs, for example, if companies face financial constraints on their activities. Second, the neutrality of the tax with respect to investment depends crucially on the tax rate being constant over time: indeed, it requires that investors believe that the tax rate will not change in the future. If investors expect future returns to be taxed at a different rate than current investment is relieved, then marginal investments will be taxed (or subsidised). However, this is not only true for flow-of-funds taxes: no realistic tax can be neutral with respect to the scale of investment if the tax rate is expected to fluctuate. Third, a pure flow-of-funds tax requires the tax to be symmetric: tax payments must be negative when there are taxable losses. For a conventional investment, which involves initial capital expenditure, followed subsequently by a return, this implies that the initial investment is effectively subsidised. Governments are typically reluctant to provide such subsidies, especially through a general tax system - and with some reason, since they would enhance the possibility of fraud. The next form of tax we consider is designed to lessen this problem... (Auerbach et. al, 2008)

15 15 Such a tax will cut into all pure rents earned from domestic production. As long as the tax does not induce companies earning mobile rents to relocate their production, the source- based cash flow tax is a non distortionary means of shifting rents from foreigners to domestic residents (via the public budget). However, if the tax becomes too high, it will cause a shift of production out of the domestic economy. The stronger the local agglomeration forces and the better the local infrastructure, the greater is the element of location- specific rent in the total rent earned by companies, and the higher is the cash flow tax rate which may be sustained without deterring investors. Like the existing corporation tax, a source-based cash flow tax will give a tax incentive for multinationals to manipulate the transfer prices used in intra-company transactions. Indeed, compared to a traditional tax, at the same revenue, the statutory cash flow tax rate would be higher, giving greater incentive to shift profits away. (Sorensen, 2007)

16 16 Tassazione sulle rendite: cash flow alla destinazione Gli investimenti (I) interni sono immediatamente deducibili… … non lo è invece il costo finanziario METR= 0 (neutrale rispetto a scala I) neutrale rispetto alle scelte finanziarie Due tipi di Cash Flow: R, R+F base Aspetto internazionale Destinazione invece che origine: dalla base imponibile tolgo i beni prodotti internamente e esportati (S d f )e aggiungo quelli importati (S f d )

17 17 The tax base is therefore equal to the current VAT base minus labour costs, assuming that the tax is levied on all firms, and not just on corporations. Because of the formal similarity with the VAT, it is possible that such a tax could get the status of an indirect tax consistent with current international tax law so that domestic tax could also be levied on the domestic sales of foreign-based firms. In that case the tax would not only fall on firms located in the domestic economy; it would also fall on firms servicing the domestic market from abroad. This is one of the attractions of the destination base: because the tax on sales to the domestic market cannot be avoided by moving production abroad, the system minimizes the incentive to relocate. Pure rents are taxed only to the extent that they are consumed by residents in the domestic jurisdiction. Hence the VAT-type cash flow tax will not distort the investment and location decisions of firms, but at the same time it will not enable the domestic government to capture any of the rents accruing to foreigners. A very attractive feature of the VAT-type destination-based cash flow tax is that it eliminates the transfer-pricing problem… (X escluse, M incluse) Problemi di transizione….

18 18 Imposta sul cash flow: problemi Introducing a cash flow taxbe it destination-based or source- based could cause significant transition problems. For example, initially the tax will fall mostly on the cash flows from old investment and will have the character of an (unanticipated) capital levy. This could create liquidity problems for capital-intensive and heavily indebted companies, necessitating extensive grandfathering rules such as a continuation of depreciation allowances for old capital and continuation of deductions for interest on old debt. The more extensive the grandfathering, the smaller will be the efficiency gain from the cash flow tax. Unanticipated tax rate changes occurring after the introduction of the cash flow tax will also generate windfall losses or gains. Moreover, a fully anticipated tax rate change could seriously disrupt the timing of investment. For example, if firms expect a future increase in the cash flow tax rate, they will postpone their investment to be able to deduct the investment expenditure against the higher future tax rate. Conversely, if they expect a future fall in the tax rate, firms will bring forward investment to take advantage of the expensing of investment against the higher current tax rate. Another problem is that countries operating a foreign tax credit system may not be willing to recognize a cash flow tax as a tax eligible for foreign tax credit.

19 19 Tassazione sulle rendite: lAllowance for Corporate Equity (ACE) Si deduce il costo opportunità del capitale proprio E neutrale rispetto alle scelte di investimento (METR=0) e finanziarie (debito e capitale proprio sono trattati uguali) Il tasso non avrebbe bisogno di correzione per il rischio se il sistema riconoscesse full loss offset…. Come nel caso dellimposta sul cash flow alla fonte, se il passaggio dallattuale tassazione sui profitti (sia normali che extraprofitti) ad una tassazione sulle rendite (extra profitti) comportasse un aumento dellaliquota, vi potrebbe essere un effetto negativo sulla localizzazione degli investimenti MN e sul profit shifting

20 20 Tassazione delle rendite On the positive side, both the ACE and the cash flow taxes eliminate distortions due to deviations between true economic depreciation and depreciation for tax purposes, and both types of taxes are in principle neutral towards corporate financing decisions. On the negative side, by exempting normal returns from tax, rent taxes tend to require higher statutory tax rates to secure the desired revenue. This is likely to deter inward investment by highly profitable multinationals and to provoke outward profit-shifting through transfer-pricing. One important difference between the ACE and cash flow taxation is that anticipated tax rate changes may cause serious distortions to the timing of investment under the latter tax system, as we explained in the previous section. Introducing cash flow taxation is also likely to cause more significant transition problems. On the other hand, we noted that in practice it may be difficult to set the imputed cost of equity finance at the right level under the ACE.

21 21 Tassazione dellintero rendimento del capitale: CBIT (Comprehensive Business Income Tax) Tutto il reddito, sia nella forma di utili (profitti normali ed extraprofitti), sia nella forma di interessi, viene tassato in capo alla società (PT=0) Neutrale rispetto alle scelte finanziarie, ma non rispetto a scelte di investimento (METR>0) Ampia base, consente bassa aliquota (riduce distorsioni e incentivo a profit shifting) Tassazione interessi alla fonte (evita che vadano non tassati; adesso sono tassati solo in capo al percettore, sempre che sia possibile accertare il reddito…..) Problemi di transizione: tassazione interessi penalizza imprese molto indebitate e può disincentivare investimenti dallestero finanziati con debito. NB: la ns IRAP assomiglia… base ancora più ampia, in quanto include il costo del lavoro

22 22 Confronto ACE e CBIT A parità gettito ACE comporta aliquota più alta (anche se occorre tenere conto di come variano PT) Per questo CBIT tenderebbe ad esser preferibile in economia aperta, ma… … è molto difficile la transizione, se laliquota è elevata. US Treasury che ha avanzato la proposta CBIT nel 1992, con aliquota uguale al 30% (e abolizione PT), prevedeva un periodo di transizione di 10 anni!!! ACE e CBIT sono entrambi neutrali rispetto a scelte finanziarie. ACE tende ad essere più neutrale anche rispetto alle scelte di investimento (ma dipende dalla aliquota personale dellinvestitore marginale e con riferimento alla scala, non alla localizzazione dellinvestimento) CBIT è meno realistica soprattutto se la riforma viene effettuata da un solo paese (nessuno si è mai mosso verso CBIT pura, mentre verso ACE si)

23 23 Tassazione duale del reddito di impresa (DIT - Dual Income Tax) Aliquota uniforme sui redditi di capitale ( d ) uguale alla aliquota più bassa dellimposta sul reddito da lavoro ( p ). Tassazione sul reddito da lavoro progressiva. I redditi di capitale sono calcolati prima e sono imputati (nozionali), analogamente al costo opportunità del capitale proprio (ci sono diverse varianti) Aliquota dellimposta societaria uguale alla aliquota sui redditi di capitale Versione pura: interessi tassati in capo al percettore con la stessa aliquota d, mentre dividendi e plusvalenze derivanti da utili trattenuti e già tassati in capo alla società sono esenti (vedi versione Norvegese )

24 24 DIT e CBIT A variant of the CBIT is the dual income tax, which is used in some Scandinavian countries. The basic idea of a dual income tax is to have a low tax rate on all capital income, while keeping a progressive labour income tax. If the dual income tax were imposed solely at the corporate level, then it would have exactly the same structure as the CBIT. However, the original proposals differ in the tax rate which they envisage on capital income. Tying the CBIT rate to the highest rate of personal income tax has the advantage of minimising distortions to organisational form: businesses would be indifferent to paying income tax or a CBIT corporation tax. However, a high tax rate is likely to discourage inward flows of capital and profit. By contrast, proponents of the dual income tax point to the need to encourage inward international capital flows as areason for keeping a low tax rate on capital income. In a pure version of the system, the corporate income tax rate is matched to the lowest marginal personal income tax rate so that only labour income above a certain level is taxed at a higher rate. That though, raises the problem of distortions to organisational form: an owner-manager would rather take his return in the form of capital income than labour income. (Although this problem is not unique to the dual income tax; it applies whenever capital income and labour income are taxed at different rates).

25 25 DIT e CBIT A further difference from the CBIT is an important distinction in implementation. Instead of levying a single tax rate on all corporate income, dual income taxes tend to give relief for interest paid at the corporate level, as with a conventional corporation tax, and instead tax it at the personal level, possibly using a withholding tax, typically set at a lower for non-residents. However, this means that interest paid to non-residents is typically taxed at a lower rate than interest paid to residents. That reintroduces a distinction between debt and equity which is avoided under the CBIT. (Auerbach et al. 2008)

26 26 The Dual Income Tax (DIT) imposes a low flat uniform tax rate on all income from capital (including corporate income) and applies a progressive tax schedule to labour income. In the pureversion of the system, the tax rate in the lowest bracket of the schedule for labour income is aligned with the capital income tax rate so that only labour income above a certain level is taxed at a higher rate. Thus the DIT may also be described as a combination of a proportional tax on all income and a progressive surtax on high labour income. The flatness and uniformity of the capital income tax may be seen as an attempt to achieve the greatest possible degree of neutrality in a tax system that attempts to tax the full return to capital. An interesting version of the DIT was the tax system prevailing in Norway from 1992 until the end of Under this system the double taxation of corporate source equity income was fully alleviated. For dividends this was done through an imputation system, and for capital gains it was achieved through the so-called RISK system which allowed the shareholder to write up the basis of his shares with (his proportionate amount of) the retained profit which had already been subjected to corporation tax. Thus the personal capital gains tax was imposed only on (realized) income that had not already been taxed at the corporate level.

27 27 Problemi della DIT versione Nordica Convenienza a trasformare reddito di lavoro in reddito di capitale Divisione fra il reddito di lavoro e quello di capitale nelle attività dove entrambi i fattori concorrono a formare il reddito, es società di persone (il reddito di capitale è definito prima) Convenienza a trasformare società di persone in società di capitale (introduzione di diverse regole e norme antielusive, es estensione del sistema di divisione del reddito anche alle società di capitali a ristretta base azionaria….) Tallone dAchille della riforma!

28 28 However, since labour income is taxed more heavily than income from capital, a DIT gives the taxpayer an incentive to relabel his labour income as capital income. This option is mainly open to (controlling) owners of small firms who work in their own business. To prevent such income shifting, the previous Norwegian tax rules required that the income of the self-employed and of active owners of corporations be split into a capital income component and a labour income component. The capital income component was calculated as an imputed return on the value of the business assets in the firms tax accounts. The residual business profit was then taxed as labour inome (up to a certain ceiling beyond which the profit was again categorized as capital income).

29 29 DIT versione Norvegese (fino a 2005) Under the Norwegian tax rules prevailing until the end of 2005, a shareholder was deemed to be active and hence liable to income splitting if he carried out some minimum amount of work in the company and controlled at least two- thirds of the shares (alone or together with his closest relatives). However, by inviting passive owners into the company, many Norwegian owner-managers were able to avoid mandatory income splitting and to have all of their income taxed at the low capital income tax rate even when a substantial part of the income was in fact labour income. Indeed, the number of small companies subject to mandatory income splitting was steadily falling since the introduction of the DIT in 1992, so this part of the Norwegian tax system turned out to be its Achilles heel.

30 30 DIT versione Norvegese (riforma 2006) Si applica una imposta alla residenza sugli azionisti sulla quota di dividendi che eccede il rendimento normale. In sostanza, si tassano gli extra profitti in capo allazionista. Laliquota sugli azionisti è uguale a quella sui redditi di capitali e sommata a quella già prelevata in capo alla società coincide circa con laliquota massima dellimposta personale sui redditi di lavoro. In sostanza, il rendimento normale è tassato una sola volta in capo alla società con d, come gli interessi (in capo al percettore). Lextraprofitto è tassato due volte (in capo alla società e in capo al socio) in modo che aliquota complessiva è circa = a p Così non vi è più convenienza a trasformare reddito di lavoro in reddito di capitale Italia ha avuto sistema analogo ( ), ma con tassazione extraprofitti in capo alla società

31 31 The reform replaced the problematic income splitting system for active shareholders by a so-called shareholder income tax (in Norwegian: aksjonærmodellen). This is a personal residence- based tax levied on that part of the taxpayers realized income from shares (dividends plus realized capital gains) which exceeds an imputed after-tax rate of interest on the basis of his shares. Shareholder income in excess of the imputed normal return is taxed as ordinary capital income. At the margin, the total corporate and personal tax burden on corporate equity income is roughly equal to the top marginal tax rate on labour income. Hence corporate owner-managers can gain nothing by transforming labour income into dividends and capital gains, and consequently the mandatory income splitting system for active shareholders has been abolished. To avoid discrimination against investment in foreign shares, the rateof- return allowance (RRA) under the shareholder income tax is granted to holders of foreign as well as Norwegian shares.

32 32 To illustrate the mechanics of the Norwegian shareholder income tax in the simplest possible manner, suppose that the company does not earn any income from foreign sources and that all after-tax corporate profits are paid out as dividends. Suppose further that the value of the shares to which a return is imputed equals the equity K d –B d of the company and that the flat personal tax rate on capital income equals the corporate income tax rate d, in line with Norwegian tax law. The personal shareholder income tax T pd is payable by a domestic shareholder is then given by…. Dividendi Rendimento normale; reddito di capitale imputato

33 33

34 34 Confronto fra regimi alternativi Difficile, soprattutto se la scelta è unilaterale Auerbach et al. (2008): a favore CFT alla destinazione Given the difficulties in implementing taxes on a source or residence basis which are both feasible and non-distorting, it is worth considering whether a tax on corporate income could be levied on a destination basis. If that were possible then the tax would avoid distorting the location of capital and profit. Griffith et al. (2008): a favore ACE alla fonte As far as the taxation of business income is concerned, we argue for a source-based tax which exempts the normal return from tax. This can be implemented by allowing firms to deduct an imputed normal return to their equity, just as they are currently allowed to deduct the interest on their debts…Our proposal for a UK dual income tax assumes that the UK government will wish to continue levying some personal tax on the normal return to capital.

35 35 CFT alla destinazione: proprietà e problemi A destination-based cash flow tax would thus have desirable properties: the scale and location of investment, and the use of different forms of finance, would all be unaffected by the tax. There would also be no incentive to shift profits to low tax-rate jurisdictions, an advantage which applies even if the above conditions for equivalence hold. Offsetting this is the underlying need for the source country to give relief for the cost of labour, even if the final good is exported and hence not taxed in that jurisdiction. A characteristic of the destination-based corporate cash-flow tax is that it relinquishes the claim to domestic location-specific production rents. By imposing a tax based on destination, a country forgoes any attempt to tax rents that accrue to companies as a result of operating in its jurisdiction (source-based rents) as well as rents that might accrue as the result of residence. The corporate cash-flow tax, like a VAT, is a tax on domestic consumption. (Since labour income is not taxed, it differs from VAT in being a tax on domestic consumption from non-labour income.) It therefore imposes no burden on the consumption of those abroad who benefit from local rents. A potential problems with implementing this proposal arise in transition. A further question is whether destination-based flow of funds tax would be creditable against any tax levied by a capital-exporting country. (Auerbach et al. 2008)

36 36 CFT alla destinazione: proprietà e problemi Moving from predominantly source-based corporate taxation to residence-based taxation is not an attractive option. Taxing corporate income in the hands of the parent company is in any case more like source-based taxation, since the location of the parent is not fixed. So true residence-based taxation would have to be at the level of the individual investor; but in a globalised world, this is scarcely feasible. An alternative which we have put forward for serious consideration is a destinationbased tax, levied where a sale to a final consumer is made. In fact, we formulate a simple – though far-reaching - extension of the flow-of-funds taxes of Meade. Specifically, we suggest that one might improve on Meades proposed taxes by adding border adjustments: imports would be taxed, but tax on exports would be refunded. The result is a destination-based cash-flow tax, essentially a destination-based VAT, but with labour costs deductible. We believe that there is a good case for implementing such a tax on an R+F basis, rather than on an R-basis, on the grounds that this would also tax the economic rents generated by banks on lending to domestic borrowers. (Auerbach et al. 2008)

37 37 ACT alla fonte: proprietà e problemi The theoretical case for an ACE in an open economy context follows from the analysis in section 3.2. In that section we saw that, in a small open economy with near-perfect capital mobility, the burden of a source-based tax on the normal return to capital will tend to be fully shifted onto the less mobile domestic factors of production such as labour and land. Indeed, the domestic factors end up bearing more than the full burden of the source tax on capital, since the capital outflow generated by the tax reduces the productivity of (and hence the pre-tax return to) domestic production factors. The owners of these factors would therefore be better off if they paid the tax directly, since this would prevent the capital flight. It is sometimes argued that since an ACE erodes the corporate income tax base, it creates a need for a higher statutory corporate tax rate which may induce multinationals earning mobile rents to flee the country so that domestic immobile factors will lose out anyway (see, e.g., Bond (2000)).

38 38 ACT alla fonte: proprietà e problemi However, since the owners of domestic factors already effectively pay the source tax on the normal return to corporate capital, there is no rationale for raising the statutory corporate tax rate to make up for the revenue loss from the introduction of an ACE. In the long term the abolition of the source tax on the normal return and the resulting stimulus to domestic and inbound investment will raise the pre-tax return to domestic immobile factors by more than the revenue loss from the ACE, so even if all of the lost revenue were recouped through higher taxes on these factors, their owners will still end up with higher net incomes than before. For this reason, and because of the opportunities for international income shifting through transfer pricing, we propose that the introduction of an ACE should not be accompanied by a rise in the statutory corporate income tax rate.

39 39 ACT alla fonte: proprietà e problemi Apart from promoting domestic investment, the ACE has several other attractive features. One of them - originally pointed out by Boadway and Bruce (1984) - is that it offsets the investment distortions caused by deviations between true economic depreciation and depreciation for taxpurposes. If firms write down their assets at an accelerated pace, the current tax saving from accelerated depreciation will be offset by a fall in future rate-of-return allowances of equal present value, since accelerated depreciation reduces the book value of the assets to which future rates of return are imputed. In fact, regardless of the rate at which firms write down their assets in the tax accounts, the present value of the sum of the capital allowance and the ACE allowance will always equal the initial investment outlay, so the ACE system is equivalent to the immediate expensing of investment allowed under a cash flow tax (see Box 1).

40 40

41 41 ACT alla fonte: proprietà e problemi Another attraction of the ACE is that the symmetric treatment of debt and equity eliminates the need for thin capitalisation rules to protect the domestic tax base: since firms get a deduction for an imputed interest on their equity as well as for the interest on their debt, multinationals have no incentive to undercapitalise a subsidiary operating in a country with an ACE system. More generally, the ACE would solve the increasingly difficult problem of distinguishing between debt and equity for tax purposes. As explained in the chapter on the corporate income tax, financial innovations in recent decades have produced new financial debt instruments allowing firms to take advantage of interest deductibility even though these instruments are in many ways equivalent to equity. Under an ACE system the base for the ACE allowance would be determined by a simple criterion that does not require the tax authorities to evaluate whether any given corporate liability is truly debt or equity. Under this criterion the ACE allowance would be imputed only to those liabilities on the company balance sheet to which no interest deduction is attached.

42 42 ACT alla fonte: proprietà e problemi The neutrality properties of the ACE system will depend on whether the imputed rate of return on equity is set at the right level. In principle it is not necessary to include a risk premium in the imputed rate of return, provided the tax reduction stemming from the ACE allowance is a safe cash flow from the viewpoint of the firm (see Bond and Devereux (1995)). This requires full loss offsets, including unlimited carry-forward of losses with interest. With limitations on loss offsets, the imputed return should include a risk premium, but in practice the tax authorities would not have the firm- specific information necessary to choose the correct risk premium. A practical solution might be to set the imputed rate of return equal to the average interest rate on UK corporate bonds, even if this would involve some sacrifice of tax neutrality (see Box 2).

43 43 ACT alla fonte ACE suggerita da Griffith et al. (2008) molto simile a ipotesi riforma Commissione Biasco (2007) Solo incrementale (nuovi apporti di capitale e utili trattenuti) An important issue is how to calculate the initial equity base at the time of introduction of the ACE system. To minimise the revenue loss and to prevent windfall gains to the owners of old capital already installed, we propose that the initial equity base be set equal to zero for tax purposes so that the ACE allowance would be granted only for additions to the equity base undertaken after the time of reform. Come anche ns vecchia Dit!!! Aliquota zero su remunerazione ordinaria (rendimento normale, in capo alla società)


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