Owing to the combination of new data sources, evolving profit measurement and distribution norms, and multilateral cooperation, a GEP tax coordinated at the international level would have vastly larger prospects for building a new social contract for a post-pandemic world than any strictly domestic effort would.
This paper examines the intra-national dimensions of the fiscal social contract, with a focus on the experience in developing societies. Helpfully, some more advanced societies have demonstrated a semblance of a positive relationship between taxation and the social contract, beyond the realm of mere potential or aspiration. Drawing guidance from such advanced societies, this paper also discusses what social, legal, and political pillars must be in place in society to support the framework of taxation from a social contractarian perspective.
The financial crisis of 2007-9 and the ensuing austerity put the political spotlight on the increasingly evident defects of the international framework for taxation of transnational corporations (TNCs). This attention will be heightened by the current COVID-19 crisis, which has led to even greater levels of state expenditure, including bailouts to business, and will bring an even sharper focus on taxation.
the responsibility to build a nation rests upon its policy-makers, lawyers and accountants. It is a collective one. The next step is to bring all stakeholders to the round-table and contribute to the global tax system from a protectionist standpoint. The lure of subscribing to the global fiscal commons must be tempered with the need to protect the tax bases and revenue of the fiscal sovereign. The time to act is now and right.
Developing countries are currently disadvantaged in the international tax regime. The control of the developed countries in the tax regime is evidenced in their influence in the creation of the major model tax treaties that are used as the starting point for nearly all bilateral tax treaties today. With the rise of multilateral tax instruments and an awareness of the dubious flow of tax revenue out of already disadvantaged countries, developing countries should consider renegotiating their bilateral tax treaties to ensure a more balanced international tax system that is designed for their benefit.
The call for an open, rules-based approach to investment facilitation at the multilateral level is informed by a tipping point in the international investment arena. As discussed below, this paradigm shift and various precedental challenges have made it imperative to seek international investment policy coherence.