Inter-nation equity revisited

The Lisbon International and European Tax Law Seminars nº3
Working Papers
Inter-nation equity revisited

States are on the verge of a new form of global competition. Some have taken unilateral measures to tax multinational profits that they would typically not be able to tax, at least not according to conventional international tax concepts and rules. Others have threatened to retaliate with economic countermeasures to protect their tax base and corporate residents.

The recent attempt of the OECD to build consensus for a global tax compact has so far proven unsuccessful due to wide disagreements about how taxing rights should be equitably distributed between countries. As policymakers and tax scholars increasingly call into question long-standing theories of international taxation, the concept of inter-nation equity plays a pivotal role as a guiding principle for how to divide the international tax base among states. Inter-nation equity is one of the most ubiquitous concepts appearing in international tax policy discussions and yet one of the most understudied in tax scholarship.

This Article introduces a comprehensive normative analysis of inter-nation equity by discussing how the concept should reconcile the two primary goals of international allocation of taxing rights: on the one hand, the concern of states to preserve their tax sovereignty and, on the other, the need to promote some degree of redistribution to take up the challenges of global poverty and inequality. This Article further explains how a similar notion of inter-nation equity has developed in other areas of international law and discusses some practical implications for tax policy design.

Keywords: Inter-nation equity, taxing rights, entitlement, tax jurisdiction, differential treatment

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