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BRICS and the Emergence of International Tax Coordination - Review 1

BRICS and the Emergence of International Tax Coordination edited by Yariv Brauner and Pasquale Pistone, IBFD 2015

Reviewed by Christiana HJI Panayi, British Tax Review B.T.R. 2015, 2, 273-275.


BRICS and the emergence of international tax coordination*B.T.R. 273 This was a highly-anticipated book dealing with a very topical issue—the role of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in the international tax regime. The *B.T.R. 274 book was compiled following a joint research seminar held in Amsterdam on December 2, 2013. A selected group of internationally renowned tax experts sought to analyse, inter alia, 
"the extent to which it may be desirable for the BRICS to enhance their future coordination and to evaluate the potential repercussions that a joint action of the BRICS can influence the developments of global international taxation worldwide and induce further countries to follow their path."1
While this topic is analysed in some detail, this book is not strictly just about the BRICS. As the editors state in the introductory chapter, the book 
"is rather concerned with the shift of power in the global economy from the traditionally dominant countries that comprise the OECD, or, even more narrowly, the G7, to emerging economies, perhaps led by the BRICS."2
The book explores the various options available to the BRICS countries and other emerging
economies in their quest for a voice in the governance of the international tax regime. It comprises of 18 chapters. The authors of the initial chapters in Part I engage in a theoretical discussion on the issues. Tsilly Dagan’s thought-provoking Chapter 2 provides an analysis of the theoretical framework and the potential for co-operation.3 She argues that co-operation is not necessarily good and its consequences are not always desirable. In so doing, Dagan refers to "cartelistic cooperation", a concept that she considered in her previous work.4 Her arguments seem to counter the conclusions of the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) initiative that a shift to co-operation is a prerequisite for the survival of the international tax regime. Whilst this may be to the benefit of OECD countries, it might not necessarily serve the BRICS countries. In the subsequent chapter, Reuven Avi-Yonah considers the supranational perspective of the current international tax regime.5 In line with his single tax principle, he sets out a list of suggested reforms based in part on BRICS practice.
The following seven chapters in Part II, written by leading scholars, comprise country-specific reports on the BRICS countries, as well as Turkey and Nigeria. There is also a chapter on the "least developed countries",6 which considers how these countries can benefit from any achievements of the BRICS. The countries considered are Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. *B.T.R. 275
In Part III, the institutional aspects of the development of the BRICS economies with a special
emphasis on the relations with the UN are examined. The role of the BRICS countries in shaping the global political debate and international tax reform are also briefly considered. There is a very interesting contribution by Richard Vann, who reviews current trends in balancing residence and source taxation and the position of BRICS.7 The important role of the BRICS in recent tax work undertaken by the UN is examined by Alfredo Garcia Prats—more theoretically8 —and Jan de Goede at a technical level.9 The international tax policy directions of the BRICS countries are reviewed by Kim Brooks at a high level, based on the country reports.10 She finds the BRICS countries to have highly sophisticated tax systems which are very much in transition. Brooks concludes that with some co-ordination:
"there is an opportunity for BRICS countries to lead a rich discussion and to help shape, and set, the international tax policy agenda for the next 20 years."11

Finally, Diane Ring examines in more detail the impact of the BRICS countries and their tax policy themes on international tax organisations such as the OECD and the UN.12 The limitations of the BRICS countries in transforming the international tax landscape are considered but their great potential is recognised.

The editors, Yariv Brauner and Pasquale Pistone, conclude in the final chapter of the book.13

Overall, this book provides an excellent analysis of some of the important issues relating to the
BRICS and international tax reform. Whilst the BEPS project does not feature as prominently in the contributions as would have been the case had the book been finalised perhaps a year later, the wealth of materials and ideas is likely to prove very useful in the post-BEPS world. This book is highly recommended not only for international tax scholars but also for tax administrators.


Christiana HJI Panayi




* Senior Lecturer in Tax Law, Queen Mary, University of London, Centre for Commercial Law Studies and researcher at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
1 Y. Brauner and P. Pistone (eds), BRICS and the Emergence of International Tax Coordination (Amsterdam: IBFD, 2015), xix.
2 Brauner and Pistone (eds), above fn.1, 3.
3 T. Dagan, "BRICS: Theoretical Framework and the Potential of Cooperation" in Brauner and Pistone (eds), above fn.1, 15.
4 See, e.g. T. Dagan, "The Costs of International Tax Cooperation" (2002) University of Michigan Public Law Research Paper 02-007, available at: [Accessed May 20, 2015]; T. Dagan, "Just Harmonization" (2010) 42 University of British Columbia Law Review 331.
5 R. Avi-Yonah, "A Perspective of Supra-Nationality in Tax Law" in Brauner and Pistone (eds), above fn.1, 33.
6 T. Dubut, "The International Tax Policy of the Least Developed Countries: The Case of the Partner States of the East African Community—Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda" in Brauner and Pistone (eds), above fn.1, 327.
7 R. Vann, "Current Trends in Balancing Residence and Source Taxation" in Brauner and Pistone (eds), above fn.1, 367.
8 F.A. Garcia Prats, "Impact of the Position of the BRICS on the UN Model Convention" in Brauner and Pistone (eds), above fn.1, 393.
9 J. de Goede, "The BRICS Countries in the Context of the Work on the UN Model" in Brauner and Pistone (eds), above fn.1, 421.
10 K. Brooks, "International Tax Policy: The Counter-Story Presented by the BRICS" in Brauner and Pistone (eds), above fn.1, 447.
11 Brooks, above fn.10, 467.
12 D. Ring, "Institutional Aspects" in Brauner and Pistone (eds), above fn.1, 469.
13 Y. Brauner and P. Pistone, "The BRICS and the Future of International Taxation" in Brauner and Pistone (eds), above fn.1, 495.