Bundestag Enacts Legislation on Global Minimum Taxation

Mon 20th Nov, 2023

The Bundestag has given its approval to the proposed law by the federal government regarding global minimum taxation. The draft secured votes from the SPD, Greens, FDP, and CDU, while the Left and AfD opposed it. The primary objective of the global minimum tax is to establish consistent taxation for internationally operating companies worldwide.

The legislation aims to curtail corporations' ability to shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions, thereby evading taxation. Historically, Ireland was recognized as a tax haven in Europe, attracting companies such as Google and Apple due to its 12.5 percent average tax rate in 2021, considerably lower than Germany's 29.9 percent.

Members from the FDP and CDU factions in the Bundestag stress that global minimum taxation is not designed to boost tax revenues but to promote tax fairness. FDP MP Maximilian Mordhorst emphasizes that tax competition is not inherently negative. The new law is crafted to counteract artificially low tax rates that contribute to exploitation and environmental degradation. SPD MP Parsa Marvi hails the decision as a significant success for Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the federal government. Katharina Beck, financial policy spokeswoman for the Greens, underscores the global tax's importance for international justice, particularly for states in the so-called global south.

Despite supporting the legislation, the CDU criticizes the perceived high bureaucratic burden on businesses. Concerns are raised about the persistence of opportunities for tax havens to circumvent minimum taxation. The federal government is urged to engage with the USA and other nations to bolster the effectiveness of the global minimum tax initiative.

The agreement, forged in July 2021 by finance ministers from G-20 countries, established a minimum tax rate of 15 percent for companies with an annual turnover exceeding 750 million euros. Former Finance Minister and current Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz played a pivotal role in advancing the project. FDP politician Lindner, commenting on the agreement, emphasized the end of the business model that allowed companies to make profits in Germany while paying minimal taxes elsewhere. The legislation also dictates that the country hosting the parent company has the right to tax profits from a tax haven, ensuring a minimum effective tax of 15 percent.

By enacting this law, the federal government is aligning with the EU directive on global minimum taxation. All EU member states are required to incorporate the directive into national law by year-end. Over 130 countries are actively participating in the initiative led by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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