Summit backs push for greater transparency in global tax system

tax_justice_summit_9-12-2016

09 December 2016

Parliamentarians from jurisdictions around the world today added weight to calls for greater transparency in the international tax system.

Twenty-six Parliamentarians have now signed a concordat calling on governments to support greater tax transparency by multinational companies.

The latest signatories were in London for today’s Global Tax Transparency Summit, hosted by the Committee of Public Accounts and attended by delegates from jurisdictions with a combined population of more than two billion people.

Central to the concordat is an agreement on support for public ‘country-by-country reporting’ to show, for each tax jurisdiction in which multinationals do business, their revenue; their profit before income tax; the income tax paid and accrued; total employment; capital; retained earnings, and tangible assets.

Jurisdictions represented at the summit were Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Guernsey, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Jersey, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Moldova, Niger, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

Outline programme for future work

Parliamentarians agreed an outline programme for future work, to explore:

  • VAT; taxation and high net worth individuals in sport and entertainment
  • Further work on tax transparency, focusing on those who advise and facilitate companies and individuals
  • Holding a follow-up conference in Canada in 2017, the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation
  • Broadening the umbrella of Parliamentarians and other stakeholders scrutinising tax collaboratively
  • Collaborating in real-time on coordinated work across Parliaments

Delegates also took part in four plenary sessions examining global tax transparency, action to combat tax avoidance, efforts to drive change in the international tax system and the impact of tax avoidance on the developing world.

Chair’s comments

PAC Chair Meg Hillier MP said:

“Tackling aggressive tax avoidance and increasing transparency requires sustained cooperation across international borders.

The excellent support for today’s summit, organised and hosted by our Committee, highlights the strength of feeling on these issues and represents an important step towards addressing them.

We have agreed some strong themes to explore in future and more Parliamentarians have signed the open letter to our governments, urging greater transparency of multinationals’ profits and tax.

Our Committee’s work scrutinising government spending, and that of colleagues overseas, is always better when information is in the public domain and civilians can help us hold governments to account.

We want the same opportunity for people to scrutinise the tax affairs of multinational companies.

Businesses should behave like good corporate citizens and pay their fair share of taxes; no business should expect to avoid its duties to wider society without genuine anger from the public.

As Parliamentarians we must now keep up the pressure on our governments to commit to more transparent reporting on multinationals.

We have no desire to set up a whole new bureaucracy but we must be fleet of foot to deliver the action our citizens are increasingly demanding.

Tax avoidance does not respect borders and only by working together can we push forward on these vital issues that affect us all.”

Further information

THE TJN WEEKLY – Friday December 9

Dear Subscriber,

Good news this week from Tax Inspectors Without Borders, who announced this week that their four pilot projects to build capacity with developing nations’ revenue inspectors had netted more than $200m extra tax revenues.

Tax Inspectors Without Borders is a project backed by the United Nations Development Programme and the OECD. Both are now hoping to roll out the project to more countries. We recently did a podcast on the initiative, the link can be found below.

Global Tax Transparency Summit

On Friday, Parliamentarians from around the word met at the Global Tax Transparency Summit, hosted by the UK Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee. The outcome of the summit was to support a call for greater tax transparency from multinational companies.

The summit was attended by parliamentarians from over 20 countries, including some well known tax havens like the BVIs, Isle of Man and Cayman Islands. Clearly, having politicians from some of these havens of secrecy joining the call is good news. Lets hope it leads to some positive action.

LuxLeaks retrial

So lets hope all this positive news carries through into next week, when LuxLeaks whistleblower Antoine Deltour begins his appeal against his conviction for stealing corporate information from PwC.

Given that the information demonstrated how the firm was helping multinationals to avoid their tax obligations, the public interest in this case was obvious. However, the Luxembourg court still sentenced Deltour and another employee, Raphael Halet to a suspended jail sentence.

More information on how to support Antoine can be found here.

The latest from the TJN Blog

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2016-12-08

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The introduction of a key policy tool against multinational companies’ tax avoidance has been handled so badly that developing countries are now exposed to worse inequalities. In a new report published today, we call for immediate changes to limit the damage done. In 2003, the Tax Justice Network outlined an important new policy for transparency […] The post For rich countries only: A global map of multinationals’ tax avoidance appeared first on Tax Justice Network.
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Beneficial Ownership and disclosure of trusts: challenging the privacy arguments

On July 22nd, 2016 the French supreme constitutional court ruled on a case brought by a US American citizen resident in France who had created a trust, allegedly to distribute her inheritance. She was contesting moves by France to set up a public register of trusts connected to France in an attempt to tackle tax […] The post Beneficial Ownership and disclosure of trusts: challenging the privacy arguments appeared first on Tax Justice Network.
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Tax justice news from around the web

Image used under the creative commons license - image by Binuri Ranasinghe

Links Dec 9

Africa’s crackdown on tax avoidance nets £204m to boost development The Guardian
Listen to news on Tax Inspectors Without Borders in our November 2016 podcast, here.

BRICS nations vow to automatic sharing of tax information Business Standard

Global public accounts committees unite for tax transparency push Public Finance International

GUE/NGL initiative succeeds in rejecting Commission’s anti-money laundering blacklist
‘Despite new scandals surfacing all the time, well-known offshore jurisdictions are still being ignored.’

Revision of 4th AMLD: Comprehensive Green approach for fighting money laundering in the EU Sven Giegold

The silent man of LuxLeaks fights back Politico
‘Long the forgotten face in the tax scandal, Raphael Halet is finally ready to clear his name.’

Virtual Briefing: Country by Country Reporting Financial Transparency Coalition
With TJN chief executive Alex Cobham

Uganda Revenue Authority Backs Campaign to End Illicit Financial Flows allAfrica / The Monitor

Zara Under Fire as Greens Warn EU Tax Dodging Still in Vogue Bloomberg

McDonald’s to scrap Luxembourg tax structure The Guardian

France’s honest tax system crusader convicted for hiding millions of euros the Guardian

Heard the latest Christmas story? It’s about how UK banks pay all their taxes The Guardian
By TJN senior adviser Prem Sikka. ‘Major financial institutions are involved in routine tax avoidance. But a report by the City of London Corporation and PwC raises more questions than it answers

Complex structures and aggressive tax planning behind the Nicaragua Canal Eurodad

Tax evasion: Tightening the noose Financial Times / MSN
Great round-up of international tax transparency progress, and weaknesses

The U.S. Is a Low-Tax Nation Bloomberg

Cristiano Ronaldo reveals £191m income after tax evasion allegations The Guardian

Links Dec 6

Financing Matters: A toolkit on domestic financing for education Global Alliance for Tax Justice

Panama Struggles to Shed Its Image as a Magnet for Shady Deals The New York Times

African union-led tax justice platforms throw their support behind ICRICT Foreign Affairs

Online discussion “Europe Calling” on „Supporting whistleblowers! Meet Antoine!“, 13 December 2016, 8:00 pm Seven Giegold

Tax dodging by corporations: How can we stop the bad deals?  Fabio de Masi (In German)

Tax Breaks Are Israel’s Bait to Lure Multinational Companies Bloomberg
Read on the Race to the Bottom here  

Cayman Islands allows four days to comment on company beneficial owner registry plan STEP

Family’s $29 Billion Fortune Claim Denied Amid India’s Tax Hunt Bloomberg

Maltese Finance Minister sidesteps Panama Papers inquiry GUE/NGL’s Panama Papers Blog

Trump, Cabinet could avoid millions in taxes thanks to this little-known law The Washington Post

Reaction: British tax haven used in football tax dodge Oxfam
See also: Football Leaks: Ronaldo and Mourinho accused of tax avoidance BBC News, and Footballers’ tax avoidance depends on corrupt global structures Left Foot Forward

Shell companies: Weak UK regulation lets opaque companies persist Reuters
Hat tip: Offshore Watch   

Can trusts still be trusted by wealthy families? Spears
TJN’s John Christensen comments: ‘for people who are really wealthy, inheritance tax has become an optional choice’

U.S. failing to curb money laundering by shell companies: task force report Reuters

Majority of London overseas property owners are registered in tax havens economia

 

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