US attempts to blocks plans for tax crackdown internet firms

US officials are reportedly attempting to block plans for international tax rules aimed at tax avoidance by firms such as Google and Amazon

US officials are reportedly attempting to block plans for tough new international tax rules aimed at cracking down on tax avoidance by internet firms such as Google and Amazon.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has drawn up proposals for tax reforms to be presented at the meeting of G20 finance ministers this week.

But those proposals are likely to have been watered down to call for only moderate changes to the current rules in response to pressure from US officials, according to the Guardian.

Citing unnamed sources, the paper said senior US officials have made it known they will not stand for rule changes that narrowly target the activities of some of the fastest-growing US multinationals.

The UK and France have been lobbying the OECD to bring international tax rules up to date for the internet world and to remove the loopholes exploited by internet firms to avoid paying tax.

In June, the UK’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) called for a full investigation of Google’s alleged tax evasion practices in the UK.

The PAC also said it wants to see multinational companies paying more tax where their customers are located.

In January, France published proposals for new tax treaties designed to block some of the avoidance measures used by internet firms.

The OECD is expected to detail up to 15 areas on which it believes action can be taken, setting up a timetable for reform on each of between 12 months and two-and-a-half years.

It remains to be seen just how much influence the US has been able to exert on the OECD, which has previously said it regards tax engineering by internet multinationals as a key area to be addressed.

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