ICC puts business view at VAT talks

  • 23 March 2011
ICC Trade Finance

The International Chamber of Commerce was involved in a high-level consultation in Rome with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), focusing on consumption taxes.

The consultation, in which ICC acted jointly with the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC), the OECD’s business advisory committee, was in conjunction with the first meeting of the International Tax Dialogue, involving the OECD, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Business members discussed with OECD member governments and a number of OECD non-members how to move forward in tackling the problems of double taxation and non-taxation created by consumption taxes in cross-border trade of international services and intangibles. Business stressed that it is critical to develop policy approaches in this area to ensure that consumption tax policies do not impede investment and innovation.

It is essential to create an open dialogue between business and government on this form of taxation, and should be part of any OECD process going forward. Consumption taxes – which in most countries are in the form of value added tax (VAT) – can act as a major obstacle to the international trade of services and intangibles.

BIAC and ICC created a joint task-force on VAT, headed by Professor Han Kogels from Shell International, which will continue to provide input to this important project. The OECD is now expected to propose a formal consultative process involving OECD member governments and non-member governments, as well as the international business community. The consultation will aim to develop ways to resolve consumption tax problems in international transactions.