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27-May-2016 02:37

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espite progress to date, reforms are slow moving as member states within the EU retain the sovereign right to set their own tax laws and they need to agree new measures unanimously.

Indeed, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has made huge progress with its Base Erosion and Profit Shifting action plan by building global consensus.State aid rules were originally designed to protect the internal EU market and avoid retaliation among member states.The US Treasury, which last week began a vocal fight-back, believes the European Commission is bending these rules to breaking point to target the earnings of American companies.It suggests these prices have not been calculated at market rates, otherwise known as the “arm’s length principle”. Firstly, the arm’s length principle is not a rule of international law and no member state is obliged to implement it in national law.

Putting to one side the appropriateness of using competition law enforcement to achieve political ends, the Commission is in uncharted legal waters using a novel and untested interpretation of EU state aid law.ccording to the European Commission, these national tax authorities have allowed multinationals to gain an unfair advantage by using transfer pricing to reduce the profits they pay tax on.