The proposed global minimum tax agreed upon by the G7 last weekend may produce higher taxes on large, multinational corporations, says Fitch Ratings.
In a new report, the rating agency said that the recent G7 agreement in principle to adopt a 15% global minimum tax highlights the “widespread interest” among governments in raising taxes for multinationals, which often pay lower taxes than domestic firms.
“Globalization, a trend toward digitalization, U.S. president Joseph Biden’s aversion to digital service taxes on U.S. technology firms and efforts to shore up public finances as the world recovers from the coronavirus pandemic underscore the agreement,” Fitch noted.
While the agreement represents a first step toward a global minimum tax, there’s no guarantee that it will come to fruition, “given the large number of countries where passage would be required and weak bipartisan support for higher taxes in the U.S.,” Fitch said.
For now, given that uncertainty, “near-term cash flow implications are unlikely,” Fitch said.
Even if the global minimum tax is adopted, the effects on corporate cash flow are not straightforward, the rating agency said.
However, Fitch reported that the effective tax rate for U.S. tech companies in 2019 was 12%, so the proposed global minimum tax of at least 15% would represent an increase.
At the same time, a global minimum tax would allow countries to increase the tax revenue they generate from multinationals without adopting digital service taxes, which “might be welcomed by technology companies, given the prospect of replacing a patchwork of disparate taxing rules across countries with a universal set of rules providing greater clarity for business planning,” Fitch said.