Tax policy considerations in the wake of COVID-19
David Linke and Chris Morgan of KPMG summarise the 'responsible tax' roundtable discussions on potential tax policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to an even greater focus on tax, including as a crucial means for providing initial relief as an immediate response and, longer term, to stimulate growth that will be critical to fund the social and economic recovery efforts as well as to reduce deficits.
In June 2020, the IMF estimated that governmental fiscal support measures, which had been announced, already amounted to nearly $11 trillion globally (IMF: 2020) and, with ‘second waves’ emerging in various jurisdictions, that figure is likely to increase.
Tax systems were on the front line of delivering support in many countries, but there are also questions of whether the COVID-19 crisis provides an opportunity for deep structural reform, including questions of how to meet future revenue needs for increased health and social expenditure and the reduction of government debt arising from the pandemic situation. With these broader questions in mind, we decided to launch a series of roundtables looking at tax policy post-COVID-19 and bringing together a diverse range of voices and stakeholders to inform the discussion. Write-ups of each roundtable can be found at home.kpmg/responsibletax.
The intention of this roundtable series was to see if an emerging consensus could be achieved as to how tax policy could effectively support a post-COVID-19 recovery for the benefit of all. This summary sets out the key themes and focus areas that have emerged over the course of eleven virtual roundtables held from June 2020 to September 2020. KPMG’s role was as a convener of the conversations, and the views expressed in the roundtables are not necessarily the opinion of KPMG International or any KPMG firm, nor were the views expressed by individual participants necessarily those of their respective organisations.
The first three roundtables covered the various stages of the pandemic:
The remaining roundtables looked more deeply at the new reality phase and focused on three key workstreams that were identified as important in the earlier roundtables:
The roundtables had a global focus and drew from the knowledge and insights of a wide range of stakeholders, including various multilateral institutions (IMF, OECD, IFC, World Bank, UN), taxpayers (individuals and corporates, particularly multinational business entities), civil society, academics and professionals. The roundtables were held under Chatham House Rules and attendees spoke in a personal capacity.
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David Linke leads KPMG's global tax and legal network of professionals in its efforts to work with multinational businesses to respond to demands and create value.
David has extensive experience working with multinational organisations around the world on a range of tax and legal matters. With a deep expertise in structuring and cross-border mergers, and a passion for accelerating digitalisation within tax, he sees his role as being a catalyst for problem solving to the complex business challenges that leaders face as they navigate the often volatile and constantly changing environment.
Having started at KPMG Australia in 1993, David has taken on various roles within the firm, most recently holding the role of Asia-Pacific regional leader for tax, as well as the head of tax, deals and legal for KPMG Australia, where he was responsible for leading a market-leading tax technology and innovation team in Australia.
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Chris Morgan has been head of tax policy since the end of 2011. In this role, he has led discussions on various representations with HMRC/HMT and also formulated and advised on the introduction of a business tax law for a foreign government.
Chris also heads up KPMG’s EU tax group. In this role, he has taken cases to the UK tribunals and courts and the Court of Justice of the European Union. He also oversees litigation in may EU countries, in particular for pension funds and investment funds. His background is in international tax in which he has over 20 years' experience advising on CFC and repatriation, cross-border financing, reorganisations, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), business structuring, commissionaire and contract manufacturing structures, and intellectual property.
Chris has been involved in setting up a number of KPMG’s key services. In 1998-9 he project managed the setup of KLegal as KPMG’s sister law firm which later became independent due to SEC restrictions. In 2000 he set up KPMG Intellectual Property Services (KIPs) – a multi-disciplinary offering dealing with all aspects of IP management. In 2003 he set up KPMG’s EU Tax Group.