Corporate Tax

The G20 needs to agree on a “historic” international corporate tax charge, says the French finance minister

The French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire wants to see a groundbreaking global corporate tax agreement implemented by 2023.

“We have waited too long to introduce this international tax system,” Le Maire told CBC News Network’s Power & Politics.

“Now is the time to make the decision to adopt this new system and implement it in, say, a year or two. [but] not much more.”

Le Maire said he expected finance ministers and central bank governors of 20 of the world’s largest economies to adopt the tax plan at this week’s G20 ministerial meeting in Venice.

“We could reach an agreement under 20 at G20 level in a few hours [of the] most important countries in the world, “he said.

If fully implemented, the plan would overhaul the global tax system and make it difficult for large multinationals to relocate to countries with low tax rates.

“For the first time we are finishing the race down,” said Le Maire.

“I am deeply convinced that this race to the bottom in taxation is clearly a dead end because it does not provide the necessary public funding for public services.”

He said the tax deal would target tech giants who, according to Le Maire, tend to avoid fair taxation of their profits in countries where they have no physical presence.

‘A starting point’

Last week Canada and 130 other countries backed the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s plan to set a global corporate tax rate of 15 percent.

Le Maire said he wanted to set the rate as high as possible and sees the 15 percent rate as the benchmark for negotiations at the G20 summit this week.

He noted that the US was interested in a 21 percent rate at the beginning of the negotiations but ended up backing the 15 percent first agreed at the G7 summit in the UK last month.

Today’s declaration by 130 countries is a tremendous achievement. It is the next step in the global effort to end the race to the bottom in corporate taxation and ensure that companies pay their fair share of taxes wherever they do business, regardless of where they are. https://t.co/6qoyGN1yeD

– @ cafreeland

“Let’s get it straight. For the French government, 15 percent is the starting point and not the end of the story,” he told Power & Politics.

Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said there was no consensus on a global interest rate. Ireland’s low tax rates have attracted many large multinational tech giants.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said she would attend the G20 ministerial meetings in Venice. Her office said the Canadian delegation will follow all health protocols during their visit and when they return to Canada.

With files from David Cochrane and The Associated Press.

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