Tax Competition, and Low Income Sub-Saharan African Countries


This paper explores the implications of Pillar 2 of the G20/OECD Inclusive Framework Blueprint for global tax reform on tax incentives and tax competition in the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It addresses both the impact of the minimum effective tax developed under the Global Anti-Base Erosion model rules, and of the Subject to Tax Rule for limited modification of existing bilateral tax treaties between SSA countries and various treaty partners. In the GloBE context the paper examines the interaction of the substance-based income exclusion, the qualified domestic minimum tax and existing domestic turnover based minimum taxes in the region, and the proposed qualified refundable tax credit rules. In regard to the Subject to Tax Rule it looks at the incentives, or lack thereof, for treaty renegotiation in the existing context of multi-national tax planning and income stripping. The paper concludes that SSA countries should, if Pillar 2 is ultimately implemented by a critical mass of advanced countries, adopt the qualified domestic minimum top up tax, as proposed in the December 2021 promulgation of the detailed GloBE rules. The benefits of other actions, such as the adoption of qualified refundable tax credits, or treaty renegotiation under the proposed STTR, are more ambiguous. Pillar 2 would introduce important fundamental changes to the international tax architecture, through agreement, at least, that there should be some limits on tax competition and profit shifting. It is, though, a far cry from the 15 percent minimum tax on corporate profits generally portrayed. The highly complex exceptions and structure explored in the paper illustrate both the technical and political difficulties involved in attempting to stem the erosion of the global corporate profits tax.