The OECD has failed to develop and agree on clear and practicable guidelines in good time. While the OECD is now issuing special rules for countries (e.g. the USA), 3/4 of the 140 countries that originally committed to the introduction of OECD minimum taxation in October 2021 are therefore waiting to introduce it. Entry into force in these countries is planned for beginning of 2025 at the earliest, if at all. Countries introducing the OECD minimum taxation as early as 2024 will be penalised. Whether the minimum tax is introduced as early as 2024, to Switzerland’s disadvantage, or delayed as in most other countries, this shall not prevent companies from preparing for the technically extremely demanding bureaucratic rules at an early stage.
In June 2023, Swiss voters approved the basis for the possible introduction of OECD minimum taxation in Switzerland. The new tax would be implemented temporarily via a Federal Council ordinance. The so-called Minimum Taxation Ordinance (in German: MindStV) is based on the OECD/G20 model rules and could come into force as early as 1 January 2024.
One month after the vote, the OECD, under pressure from the USA among others, fundamentally adjusted key mechanisms of the minimum taxation or practically suspended it temporarily. On 17 July 2023, the OECD adopted the so-called “Transitional UTPR Safe Harbour”. This will temporarily (until 2026) remove the pressure on countries to introduce minimum taxation. But that’s not all: Countries that introduce minimum taxation in 2024 are now suddenly damaging their economic attractiveness and putting their corporations at a disadvantage in competition with large companies from non-implementing countries. For this reason, almost no countries have decided to introduce the OECD minimum taxation in 2024 since the decision in mid-July 2023. Exceptions include the EU member states, which would have to implement it at the beginning of 2024 in accordance with the EU directive of December 2022. However, voices against the economic disadvantage are also becoming louder in the EU states, as in other countries. This is also in light of the fact that various countries are currently trying to make the “Transitional UTPR Safe Harbour” a permanent rule.
Switzerland should wait until more of the economically significant states also implement minimum taxation and states that implement it do not have any economic disadvantages compared to non-implementing states. A level playing field is needed. With the new transitional regulations, countries that have a national statutory tax rate of at least 20% on paper will be spared from the OECD rules. However, these countries can then use targeted deductions to reduce the effective tax rate for their companies to well below 15% (in some cases even below 11%) without other countries being able to take action against this. If the OECD does not manage to reach an agreement among the states that remedies these shortcomings, many states are likely to refrain from implementing the minimum taxation in the future as well. Switzerland must therefore strive to ensure fair international competition for Swiss companies on a level playing field.
SwissHoldings members and Big 4 tackle the challenges of implementing OECD minimum taxation
In order to be prepared for the extremely challenging rules the SwissHoldings members met on Monday, November 27, to take a detailed look at the technical requirements and current developments in the area of OECD minimum taxation. The companies must be ready for the implementation and are working hard to understand and implement the OECD rules. This is no easy task, as numerous OECD implementation rules are still missing one month before the planned launch and decisive guidelines will probably not be published until 2024. Therefore, the SwissHoldings members joined forces with the Big 4 companies (Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC) at the association’s internal SwissHoldings meeting and jointly tackled this important implementation issues and challenges. By sharing experiences, the association supports its members in this process and promotes best practice approaches. The exchange of tax and accounting experts was led by the group chairs of the Pillar 2 Implementation Group, who emphasised the central importance of an intensive dialogue.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the group chairs:
- Davide De Biase, VP Tax at Tecan
- Gareth Lewis, Head of Tax Strategy, Policy & Reporting at Holcim
- René Bütler, International Tax Counsel at Schindler
- Eric Kilchoer, Financial Consolidation Specialist at Nestlé
We would also like to thank the following for the fruitful exchange:
- Daniel Stutzmann Hausmann, Partner and Thomas Hug, Partner, Deloitte
- Gregor Müller, Partner and Alain Horat, Tax Director, EY
- Anne Marie Anselmi, Partner and Peter Uebelhart, Partner, KPMG
- Dominik Birrer, Partner and Pascal Bühler, Partner, PwC
For SwissHoldings, the event was hosted by Claudiu A. Antal, Deputy Head of Tax and Tax Policy, and Martin Hess, Head of Tax and Tax Policy. They will be happy to answer any further questions.
Martin Hess | Head of Tax and Tax Policy, Member of the Executive Board | +41 (0)31 356 68 61
Claudiu A. Antal | Deputy Head of Tax and Tax Policy, COO | +41 (0)31 356 68 69