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Sun Jul 21, 2013, 08:54 AM


G-20 backs new tax rules for big firms

For the first time in decades, the world's biggest powers look ready to close loopholes that big companies exploit to pay little or no tax.

The Group of 20 leading developed and emerging economies gave its support Friday to an action plan drafted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that will be translated into specific measures over the next two years.

"International tax rules, many of them dating from the 1920s, ensure that businesses don't pay taxes in two countries -- double taxation," OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said in a statement. "This is laudable, but unfortunately these rules are now being abused to permit double non-taxation."

Revelations that multinationals such as Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500), Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) and Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) have been paying very little, if any, tax in countries where they have substantial businesses has led to a storm of protest.

A U.K. parliamentary committee called last month for a full investigation into Google's tax affairs, following a scathing report that also criticized Amazon and Starbucks (SBUX, Fortune 500). Apple has been grilled by lawmakers in Washington.


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