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Global economic watchdog says talks on taxing big tech will stretch into 2021

Global economic watchdog says talks on taxing big tech will stretch into 2021

A global economic watchdog on Monday said talks on how to overhaul taxes on big tech companies will stretch into 2021 after the coronavirus pandemic and “political issues” prevented the group from wrapping up by its end of the year deadline. 

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Tuesday announced a two-pillar proposal to overhaul how big tech companies are taxed. The proposal was approved by a group with participants from 137 countries and jurisdictions. 

The proposal’s first pillar includes a blueprint to establish rules on where taxes should be paid and a way of sharing taxing rights between countries. The second pillar proposes establishing a global minimum tax for tech companies. 

The plan will be presented to Group of 20 finance ministers next week with the goal of putting the plan in place by the middle of next year if an agreement is reached, said Angel Gurria, the OECD’s secretary-general. 

Gurria, during a press conference from Paris, cited difficulties that arose from the coronavirus pandemic, including restrictions on in-person meetings, as well as “political issues” for the delay in the plan which OECD had previously said would be done before the end of 2020. 

The Trump administration reportedly pulled out of negotiations in June and threatened to impose tariffs on imports from countries that impose the taxes.

On Monday, however, Gurria said that “every single country” is participating in the effort, with “no exceptions.” 

He warned that if a proposal is not agreed on by countries it could lead to a trade war, which he said would cause issues for countries, especially amid ongoing economic recovery efforts due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“The alternative to finding an agreement would be a trade war,” he said. “Now, a trade war is always bad, a trade war is always

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U.S. consumer watchdog rescinds ban on mortgage marketing deals

U.S. consumer watchdog rescinds ban on mortgage marketing deals

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. consumer watchdog said on Wednesday it was rescinding guidance that had effectively banned joint marketing agreements between mortgage lenders, realtors and other home buying service providers, saying it did not provide necessary “regulatory clarity” on how to comply with the law.

The move is another boost for the mortgage industry, which has long lobbied against the guidance, and is the latest example of the Trump administration rolling back Obama-era consumer protections. The industry has complained that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s 2015 guidance was unclear and had misinterpreted federal laws that bar kickbacks or referral fees that could increase the cost of buying a home.

The CFPB said it was replacing the guidance with a document on “Frequently Asked Questions.” The agency emphasized the move did not mean that such marketing arrangements are “per se or presumptively legal” and should be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Such “Marketing Services Agreements” involve mortgage originators and title insurers, hungry for sales leads, paying a real estate broker or homebuilder to promote their services and products, or to rent a desk in their offices.

Under the administration of former President Barack Obama, the CFPB had cracked down on these agreements, saying they frequently violated the 1974 Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), which bars giving or receiving anything of value in exchange for referrals for homebuying services such as mortgages, title insurance and appraisals.

While co-marketing arrangements are not illegal under RESPA, the CFPB’s then-director, Richard Cordray, found many were used to disguise an illegal referral fee as compensation for marketing or advertising services. Such fees create conflicts of interest that could prevent borrowers from getting the best rate, according to consumer protection experts.

Reuters reported here last year, however, that many mortgage firms were getting

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