OECD sees solid basis for finalising global tax talks

PARIS (Reuters) - Global talks to update international tax rules for the digital age now have a “solid basis” to be wrapped up providing the United States and Europe the necessary political leadership, the OECD’s head of tax said on Tuesday.

The OECD’s Pascal Saint-Amans said the Paris-based organisation would publish technical blueprints on Oct. 12 for agreements on how to tax big digital companies across borders and for global minimum corporate tax.

“There is a dynamic in Europe, there’s a dynamic in the U.S,” Saint-Amans said in an online address to Ireland’s Institute of International and European Affairs.

“We for sure in the OECD think that we now have a very solid basis for finalising the negotiation when we have leadership, when we have leadership from the U.S. on the digital topic., when we have leadership from the European countries, at least those that sponsor the global minimum tax,” he added.

With the blueprints due to be discussed by G20 finance ministers at an Oct. 14 meeting, the aim has been to reach an agreement before the end of the year.

However, that prospect that has all but slipped away as the U.S. elections near, which for now has given Washington cold feet about signing up to a new international agreement.

In the meantime, France has accused the United States of seeking to undermine the talks among nearly 140 countries and urged Europe to prepare an EU-wide digital services tax early next year if the negotiations stall.

Saint-Amans said whoever wins the U.S. presidential election in November, he was confident the next administration would take up the issue as a priority.

“It is a topic which is now on the radar screen of politicians and will be on the radar screen of whatever administration we have in the U.S.,” he said.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Gareth Jones and Angus MacSwan