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Peter Barnes Talks to Law360 on Multinationals' Data Paints Global Picture, But Has Limits

July 27, 2018, Law360

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's plan to publish aggregated, anonymous data about large multinational corporations in each country where they operate could pressure lawmakers to combat international tax avoidance, but the limited information could complicate attempts at drafting policy.

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"We're often critical of the OECD, but the BEPS Action 11 team ... I think have really done a great job," said Alex Cobham, an economist and chief executive of the Tax Justice Network. "We have to wait and see what comes back, but I think they've done everything they could for this to be a really big step forward in what the world knows about its biggest economic actors."

On the other hand, for tax authorities, this information adds nothing new, according to Peter Barnes, a professor of tax law at Duke University School of Law and of counsel at Caplin & Drysdale, Chtd. He added that it's likely to be duplicative and not as comprehensive as data collected by other groups, particularly because the country-by-country data touches only companies with more than €750 million in revenue.

"The tax authorities already get this information," he said. "The aggregated data doesn't advance the work of the local tax authorities that need to use their limited resources in efficient ways to audit taxpayers. I think this publication will just make people feel good."

For the full article, please visit Law360’s website (subscription required).

Excerpt taken from the article “Multinationals' Data Paints Global Picture, But Has Limits” by Natalie Olivo for Law360.

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