[BERLIN] German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Thursday he would propose a monitoring scheme to ensure the full implementation of a proposed system that will overhaul the way international companies are taxed.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published proposals on Monday to change outdated tax rules that allow multinational companies such as Apple Inc and Vodafone Group Plc to pay almost no tax on their profits in many jurisdictions.
The companies say they follow the current rules.
The OECD made the proposals at the request of the Group of 20 leading economies, which will review the plans for closing the gaps in international tax rules at a dinner meeting in Peru late on Thursday. "Now it is important not just that we adopt this today ... but that it is also really implemented," Mr Schaeuble told reporters in Lima ahead of the G20 meeting. "That means, I will call for us to agree on a monitoring (system) so that what is agreed is implemented. Otherwise it is just on paper," he said.
Unveiling its recommendations on Monday, the OECD said they represented a fundamental shift, though critics said they did not go far enough.
The OECD said a conservative estimate of the amount of untaxed money moved by companies into tax havens was US$100 billion to US$240 billion annually, suggesting tens of billions of dollars in lost tax revenue.
Tax advisers agreed that the measures - which had been debated over the past year - could force many companies to restructure their operations and rethink how they fund themselves.
The rules that govern taxation of profits from international commerce date back almost a century.
However, globalisation and technology that allows products and services to be delivered in non-traditional ways have created opportunities for companies to shift profits out of the countries where the money is earned and into jurisdictions such as Luxembourg, Ireland or Bermuda which do not tax them.
The technology giants are seen as the most adept at exploiting loopholes, but drug makers, medical device groups, banks, fast food groups and retailers all commonly use contrive arrangements to cut their tax bills.