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Michael Motala

The G20-OECD Contribution to a New Global Tax Governance

2019. Vol. 14. No. 2. P. 61–93 [issue contents]

The 2012 transatlantic corporate tax scandals surrounding Amazon, Google and Starbucks exposed the scope and gravity of offshoring by digital multinationals, producing major dilemmas for the global governance of international fiscal law and policy. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2015) estimates corporate profit shifting erodes up to $240 billion dollars from the global tax base every year. Extant literature has established links between corporate tax avoidance and accelerating domestic socio-economic inequality, the declining redistributive capacity of states, the malign impact on growth of gross domestic product (GDP), and the rise of anti-globalism in the form of populist discontent, providing unambiguous evidence that global tax competition causes social and economic harms. Responding to public outcry, world leaders at the Los Cabos summit in 2012 tasked the OECD with tackling national tax base erosion, and the Inclusive Framework for the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative currently boasts 123 participating states, including 93% of global GDP. Although taxation is at the heart of the social contract, this new global tax governance is both under-theorized and poorly understood in the mainstream political science literature. This study draws on the extra-disciplinary approach of law and economics to argue that while global tax cooperation under Group of 20 (G20)-OECD auspices may be considered a successex ante based on the record of first-order compliance, theex post enforcement dimension of BEPS is both under-theorized and under-scrutinized empirically. This study contributes a novel meta-theory of the new global tax governance that accounts for the variables of time, institutional sphere of action and policy feedback loops embedded in the global fiscal policymaking process to stimulate further inquiry. It concludes with recommendations for global fiscal policy, further research on BEPS and G20 digital governance.

Citation: MotalaM.F. (2019) The G20-OECD Contribution to a New Global Tax Governance. International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 14, no 2, pp. 61-93 (in English). DOI: 10.17323/1996-7845-2019-02-03.
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