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France and other members of the Group of 20 leading economies are pushing for an agreement to clamp down on tax breaks for patentees, a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Australia has heard.
French finance minister Michel Sapin told the meeting in Cairns that they were keen to avoid countries contravening tax arrangements through the scheme known in the UK as the patent box, which enables companies to apply a lower rate of tax to profits earned after April 1, 2013 from patented inventions.
Other countries, including Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium operate similar schemes.
"There is increasing pressure, notably from Germany, the United States, France and Italy, to iron out an agreement around patent boxes," Sapin told a press briefing.
"We plan to put in place a standard that can quickly be incorporated into each country’s legal framework," Sapin added, according to Reuters.
The minister said 47 countries had already agreed to exchange information by 2017 and another eight G20 members, as well as New Zealand, will join by 2018.
It is the second time the patent box has been in the news in as many weeks.
Last week, WIPR reported that the BDI (Federation of German Industries) in Germany, a country previously critical of the scheme, said that it would be “considerably more attractive” for inventors to carry out research.
Earlier this year, the European Commission said it was launching a probe into the patent box and was seeking answers from several countries.
The probe was launched because the Commission suspected that the scheme breached EU codes of conduct for business taxation.
patent box, tax, G20