The use of debt is, according to the OECD, one of the simplest profit-shifting techniques available in international tax planning, due to the mobility of money. A debt tax planning strategy can be applied without any people or machinery being moved or re-allocated; it can be done by advisors or in-house specialist sitting at their desks. These (lawful) tax planning strategies undermine the fairness and integrity of tax systems, because multinational entities can use Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) strategies to gain a competitive advantage over domestic entities, as well as undermining voluntary compliance by all taxpayers, according to the OECD. The focus in the OECD BEPS project and the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD) is to counteract these tax planning strategies to ensure taxation where the value is created (economic activity).
This article focuses on one anti-tax avoidance measure: interest limitation rules as addressed in BEPS action 4 and in ATAD Article 4. The aim of the article is to address the need for interest limitation rules, analyse the recommend approached in BEPS action 4, analyse the minimum interest limitation rule in the EU according to Article 4 in ATAD, and the implications of OECD action 4 and ATAD Article 4. Lastly, the article will discuss alternatives to these interest limitation rules as a way to address BEPS.Intertax