The 2015 BEPS Action 3 report set out recommended approaches to the development of controlled foreign company (CFC) rules to ensure the taxation of certain categories of MNE income in the jurisdiction of the parent company in order to counter certain offshore structures that result in no or indefinite deferral of taxation. Comprehensive and effective CFC rules have the effect of reducing the incentive to shift profits from a market jurisdiction into a low-tax jurisdiction.
The OECD gathers information on progress related to the implementation of Action 3, namely:
In general, a CFC is defined as a foreign company that is either directly or indirectly controlled by a resident taxpayer. Jurisdictions apply a variety of criteria to determine control. Some approaches make reference to voting rights held by resident taxpayers or to shareholder value held by resident taxpayers, while others stipulate that a foreign company is a CFC if it carries out its operations in a low-tax jurisdiction and others base CFC designation on a taxation test (i.e., if the foreign company does not pay tax in its jurisdiction of residence). Jurisdictions also vary in their definitions of CFC income, with some applying CFC rules to any type of income while others apply them to only passive income (i.e., income from interest, rental property, dividends, royalties or capital gains). Finally, jurisdictions also vary in the presence of substantial activity tests.