ICC Guidelines on Tax Principles for Multinational Businesses

These ICC Guidelines on Tax Principles are intended to serve as guidance in the formulation of the tax policies of multinational businesses and as an indication to revenue authorities of the principles sought by multinational businesses in their interactions with them.

This guidance takes account of six key observations:

  • Public trust in the tax system is vital to any well-functioning society and growing economy.
  • Businesses should comply fully with all applicable tax laws and regulations, and most do, recognising the obligations of governments to protect a sustainable tax base. Each business has its own unique characteristics and market conditions and therefore must apply appropriate tax principles befitting its particular situation.
  • International businesses contribute significantly to the global economy and pay a substantial amount of tax comprising not only corporation tax, but also labour taxes, social contributions and other taxes such as environmental levies, and value added, sales and use taxes.
  • Transparency, open dialogue and cooperation between tax authorities and business contribute to greater compliance and a better functioning tax system.
  • Tax is a business expense which needs to be managed, like any other, and therefore businesses may legitimately plan their affairs and respond to tax incentives and statutory alternatives offered by governments.
  • Multinational businesses recognise the contribution of governments, especially in emerging countries, in providing infrastructure, business locations, health and education services and access to natural resources and to labour and consumer markets.

The objectives of the Guidelines

  • To promote the formulation of responsible tax principles by companies in order to enhance co-operation, trust and confidence between tax authorities, business taxpayers and the public concerning the operation of the global tax system.
  • To promote the efficient working of the tax system to fund public services and promote sustainable growth.
  • To support stability, certainty and consistency in global tax principles that will foster cross-border trade and investment.
  • To provide international businesses with framework tax principles that they can develop and apply in the countries where they operate. International
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