What is the Global Minimum Tax and why is it so important?

The law has been in force since January 1, 2024 Global Minimum Tax, a new minimum tax of 15% applicable to all multinationals with annual revenues of at least US$750 million. Contract signed in 2021 over 130 countries – which includes all EU states, but also the UK, Norway, Australia, Canada, South Korea and Japan – aims to act against tax competition (or fiscal dumping), a phenomenon that has prompted many companies to locate their headquarters in countries with cheaper tax rates. Over time, this has led to the concentration of companies in countries with extremely low taxes, such as Amazon in Luxembourg or Apple in Ireland. Currently, two EU member states have corporate tax rates below 15%: Hungary (9%), Bulgaria (10%); Ireland AND Cyprus are just above the threshold (12.5%).

In Italyglobal minimum tax legislation was recently introduced through a legislative decree in accordance with European Union Directive 2022/2053. This directive introduces several rules against multinational companies’ strategies to avoid national taxes. The most important of them isIncome Inclusion Rule (Iir)which requires companies to pay additional tax if its foreign subsidiaries have lower tax rates in low-tax countries. The parent companies then have to cover the difference between 15% and lower tax paid by foreign subsidiaries. In practice, if a company in a tax haven pays only 5% in taxes, whoever controls it will have to add at least another 10% in taxes to reach a total of 15%.

Another pillar of the rule is more specifically legal. And provides that the power of taxation passes to Marketing states in which the company operates, that is, the countries in which the consumers who buy the services and goods of the given company reside. This principle affects big technology above all: In fact, the big names of the digital economy, from Amazon to Meta, using exclusively virtual, intangible assets, end up paying taxes in the country in which they register their headquarters, and not also, in all the countries in which end users buy the service offered. Now companies with a global turnover exceeding 20 billion euros and a profit margin of 10% are also considered taxable on the share of profits made in the countries where they sell their services. In other words, the novelty of the new tax lies in consider the overall economic activity of the group as a key element for taxationregardless of its physical presence in a particular country. Therefore, even if there are no offices, branches or manufacturing facilities in a particular jurisdiction, so-called “non-resident” companies may be subject to and taxed according to the rules of the jurisdiction of the country in which they operate.

A global minimum tax can bring clear benefits. According to the OECDamong the main architects of the agreement, the nations involved should get a additional tax revenue of 220 billion dollars. In Italy, a profit of 381.3 million is expected in 2025, over 400 in 2026 and almost 500 in 2033 (data estimated by the CGIA in Mestre based on the Chamber Budget Service). But despite the historic deal, there are still questions about how effective it is. For example, Switzerland amended his constitution to apply a 15% tax but there are still tax benefits and exemptions for multinational companies with direct investment. Besides, both China that the United States has decided not to accept this taxwhich adds further uncertainties to the overall picture.

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