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G20 leaders mull plan to get more tax revenue from multinational corporations

| Saturday, July 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

PARIS — Stashing profits offshore may soon get tougher for companies, thanks to an ambitious plan released Friday by the finance chiefs of leading world economies aimed at forcing multinationals to pay more taxes.

Low tax payments by major global companies — including Google, Amazon, Facebook and Starbucks — have sparked public anger in Europe recently, as governments are struggling with high debts, low growth and austerity measures that are hitting ordinary taxpayers.

“National tax laws have not kept pace with the globalization of corporations and the digital economy, leaving gaps that can be exploited by multinational corporations to artificially reduce their taxes,” the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in announcing the new tax plan. It was detailed at a meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers in Moscow.

The Paris-based OECD says the 15-point plan includes ways to close loopholes and allow countries to tax profits held in offshore subsidiaries. If it is adopted, the measures would be implemented over the next two years and target such practices as deducting the same expense more than once in more than one country.

The plan also has a special focus on the online economy, where commerce flows across borders constantly and it's harder to tie revenue and profit to a single country.

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