G8 Declaration Latest in International Movement to Increase Tax-Related Disclosures and to Limit Cross-Border Tax “Arbitrage”: Scrutiny of Current Law and Reporting Positions under Current Law

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - July 1, 2013

On June 18, during the 2013 G8 summit in Northern Ireland, the G8 released a one-page statement (referred to as the “Lough Erne Declaration” for the name of the resort which hosted the summit), that called on countries around the world to, among other things, (1) change their laws to prevent multinational enterprises from reducing their taxes through cross-border structuring arrangements and to require increased transparency in ownership and tax reporting by taxpayers and (2) more freely share taxpayer information with one another, all with a sensitivity to the property rights and tax base of developing nations. While it is not clear how fully each of the G8 members supports the Lough Erne Declaration, it is the latest in a series of public statements through which governments and related organizations have expressed frustration at the ability of companies and individuals to reduce their taxes through (A) leveraging the tax laws of one country against another and (B) avoiding disclosure of ownership interests and other assets.

Though most of the statements like the Lough Erne Declaration lack detail as to how to implement reform, their increasing intensity merits consideration by multinationals and individuals with assets outside their home countries. This memorandum summarizes recent developments related to the Lough Erne Declaration and offers some observations about conducting business and filing tax returns in such an environment.