How Does the Diverted Profits Tax Work

The diverted profits tax (DPT) targets companies that shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions to avoid paying taxes in their home countries. The tax is levied on profits that are deemed to have been artificially diverted to these jurisdictions. To determine whether a company is subject to the DPT, tax authorities consider factors such as the substance of the company’s operations in the low-tax jurisdiction, the level of economic activity conducted there, and the nature of the transactions involved. The purpose of the DPT is to ensure that companies pay taxes on their profits in the countries where they are truly earned, rather than allowing them to artificially shift profits to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

Diverted Profits Tax: Definition and Purpose

The diverted profits tax (DPT) is a tax imposed on multinational corporations (MNCs) that artificially shift their profits to low-tax jurisdictions to avoid paying higher taxes in their home countries.

The DPT aims to:

  • Prevent tax avoidance by MNCs
  • Ensure fair tax competition
  • Promote transparency in corporate taxation

Criteria for DPT Application

The DPT is typically applied to MNCs that meet the following criteria:

  • Annual global revenue exceeding a certain threshold (e.g., €750 million in the EU)
  • Controlled foreign corporations (CFCs) located in low-tax jurisdictions
  • Profit shifting arrangements that result in a significant reduction in tax liability

Tax Calculation

The DPT is calculated as a percentage of the diverted profits. The tax rate can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific rules for determining diverted profits.

For example, the European Union’s DPT, known as the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB), imposes a 5% tax on diverted profits.

Avoidance Measures

MNCs may use various strategies to avoid the DPT, including:

  • Substantial economic presence in low-tax jurisdictions
  • Transfer pricing arrangements
  • Intangible asset shifting

Table: DPT Regulations by Jurisdiction

JurisdictionDPT ThresholdDPT Rate
European Union (CCCTB)€750 million5%
United States (BEAT)$10 million10.5%
United Kingdom (Diverted Profits Tax)£10 million25%

Calculation and Application of the Tax

The diverted profits tax (DPT) is a corporate tax that is imposed on the profits of multinational enterprises (MNEs) that are shifted to low-tax jurisdictions. The tax is designed to encourage MNEs to pay their fair share of taxes in the countries where they operate.

  • The DPT is calculated as a percentage of the profits that are shifted to a low-tax jurisdiction. The percentage rate varies depending on the country in which the profits are shifted.
  • The DPT is applied to the profits that are shifted to a low-tax jurisdiction, regardless of the source of the profits. This means that the DPT can be applied to profits that are earned in a high-tax jurisdiction but shifted to a low-tax jurisdiction.
  • The DPT is a self-assessed tax, which means that the taxpayer is responsible for calculating and paying the tax. The taxpayer must file a DPT return with the tax authorities.
  • The DPT is a non-deductible expense, which means that it cannot be deducted from the taxpayer’s taxable income.

The DPT is a complex tax that can have a significant impact on the profits of MNEs. It is important for taxpayers to understand the tax and how it is applied in order to avoid penalties.


The following is an example of how the DPT is calculated:

Jurisdictions Profit (in millions) Tax rate DPT (in millions)
United States 100 35% 35
Ireland 50 12.5% 6.25
150 41.25

In this example, the MNE has earned $150 million in profits, $100 million in the United States and $50 million in Ireland. The MNE is subject to a 35% tax rate in the United States and a 12.5% tax rate in Ireland. The MNE must pay a DPT of $41.25 million on the profits that are shifted to Ireland.

Implications for Multinational Corporations

The diverted profits tax has significant implications for multinational corporations (MNCs) that engage in profit shifting to avoid taxes. These implications include:

  • Increased tax liability: MNCs will face higher tax liabilities in jurisdictions where they have significant operations but low or no taxable profits. This will reduce their overall profitability and may discourage them from investing in certain jurisdictions.
  • Increased compliance costs: MNCs will need to invest more resources in tax compliance to ensure that they are not subject to the diverted profits tax. This will increase their administrative costs and may divert resources away from other business activities.
  • Reputational damage: MNCs that are caught engaging in profit shifting may face reputational damage, which can harm their brand and customer loyalty.
  • Potential criminal penalties: In some jurisdictions, profit shifting may be considered a criminal offense, which could lead to fines or imprisonment for individuals involved.
Example of Diverted Profits Tax
CountryStatutory Tax RateEffective Tax RateDiverted Profits
Country A30%5%$100,000
Country B10%10%$0

In the example above, a multinational corporation earns $1,000,000 in profits. It shifts $100,000 of these profits to a low-tax jurisdiction (Country B), where it pays only 10% tax. As a result, its effective tax rate in Country A is reduced from 30% to 5%. Under the diverted profits tax, the MNC would be subject to additional tax of $15,000 (15% of the diverted profits).

Enforcement and Compliance Mechanisms

Ensuring compliance with the diverted profits tax (DPT) is crucial to its effectiveness. Several mechanisms are in place to enforce the tax and ensure businesses comply with the regulations:

  • Audits: Tax authorities can conduct audits to verify the accuracy of tax returns and identify any potential underpayments.
  • Penalties: Businesses that fail to comply with DPT regulations may face significant penalties, including fines and interest charges.
  • Information Exchange: Tax authorities cooperate internationally to exchange information about businesses’ operations, helping to detect cross-border tax avoidance schemes.

To enhance compliance, some jurisdictions have implemented specific measures:

JurisdictionCompliance Measures
FranceAnti-abuse rules, transfer pricing documentation requirements, and enhanced audit powers
United KingdomDiverted Profits Tax (DPT) regime, including the “Double Irish” and “Dutch Sandwich” measures
United StatesBase Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT), aimed at preventing companies from shifting profits to low-tax jurisdictions

Well, there you have it, folks! Now you know how the diverted profits tax works. I hope this article has shed some light on the subject and helped you understand how it might affect your business. Thanks for taking the time to read, and be sure to visit us again soon for more informative articles on tax and finance.