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Editorial

Reform is the flavour of the decade in the tax world, as multilateral organisations have undertaken wide reviews of international tax rules, with the aim of modernising them to reflect changes to the way businesses operate in a globalised world.

Whether part of the OECD or not, countries in the region are keeping a close eye on international developments, though there are differing views on the level of engagement the organisation has had with non-member developing countries.

National governments have also conducted reforms to ensure regimes tie in with, rather than work against, such multilateral efforts while also remaining attractive to investors. This is a delicate balance. And Latin America is no different.

But not all in the region are conforming to international reform trends. Flying in the face of the global "race to the bottom" of reducing corporate tax rates, Chile is actually raising its rate. But the hike is gradual, and even then the new rate will stand around the OECD average.

Mexico's reform package also bucked the trend of declining corporate tax rates. Scheduled reductions, from 30% to 29% in 2014, and to 28% in 2015, were repealed this year.

Despite these reforms, taxpayers must still navigate a complex compliance environment, and tax technology is not easing the burden. This is nothing new, but contending with Brazilian transfer pricing rules and technology changes brought in to deal with Big Data is the latest example of technology hindering rather than helping.

This summer, Brazil had the eyes of the world upon it as it hosted the FIFA World Cup, and the 2016 Olympics is up next. Further infrastructure investment will be a part of those preparations, and tax incentives may play a key role.

FDI to Latin America rose 5% in 2013 to almost $185 billion, after a 12% jump the previous year. Mexico in particular attracted higher flows, including the $13.2 billion Anheuser-Busch InBev deal to acquire Grupo Modelo. However, the UN predicts modest 1% growth in foreign investment across the region for 2014. Such figures could prompt tax policy changes to maintain attractiveness.

In this context, International Tax Review brings you the 11th edition of its Latin America regional guide, published in association with: Baker & McKenzie, Deloitte, EY, Marval O'Farrell & Mairal, prietocarrizosa and Ulhoa Canto.

The supplement also contains an exclusive interview with Jorge Correa. The Mexican official and OECD secondee shares unique insights on life at the OECD and the Mexican SAT, and the lessons he has taken from one to the other.

Matthew Gilleard

Corporate tax editor, International Tax Review

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