A Press release from ActionAid, Christian Aid, Oxfam and War on Want:
Britain’s Overseas Territories, such as the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and the Caymans, should use a joint ministerial summit, starting in London today, as a golden opportunity to commit to exposing the true owners of more than half a million shell companies set up on their shores, some of which are providing cover for tax dodgers trying to disguise their profits, as well as money launderers and even people financing terrorism.
The UK Government has shown leadership by agreeing to set up a public list of exactly who owns companies to avoid this happening in Britain. Campaigners from ActionAid, Christian Aid, Oxfam and War on Want are calling on the Overseas Territories to use their meeting this week to sign up to do the same, which, along with other concrete actions, would help them to shake off their shameful tax haven status.
Latest OECD Compliance ratings: what the media in non-compliant countries are saying Financial Secrecy Media Monitor
See also our recent blog Is the OECD's new tax haven report a whitewash? No, but . . .
Malaysia: Tax evasion is an act of treason New Straits Times
The OECD's Global Forum, a multilateral framework designed to push for greater transparency in the global financial system, has published the results of its new compliance ratings for 50 countries.- and, in line with expectations published in our recent blog, both Switzerland and Luxembourg - respectively Numbers 1 and 2 in our Financial Secrecy Index - have been fingered as falling woefully short of even the OECD's rather low standards. (Note: This has nothing really to do with the OECD's - also flawed - project on international corporate tax, which we blogged yesterday.)
Financing progress independently: taxation and illicit flows Development Progress
Alex Cobham on addressing tax and illicit flows within the post-2015 framework.
Push against offshore secrecy an uphill battle The Center for Public Integrity
Lobbyists for the havens: ICIJ's guide to the offshore system's defenders
A very US-centric list, but still interesting
In the November 2013 Taxcast from the Tax Justice Network: the movers and the shakers in the 2013 Financial Secrecy Index, the pariah states trying to wreck new global transparency measures, and it’s 50 years ago this month that US President John F Kennedy was assassinated.
Did you know that he was trying to tackle tax havens too?
Download and listen here. To hear previous Taxcasts, click here.
"Foreign tax havens [that] drain our jobs and dollars away from our shores...nearly 630 million dollars due to the Treasury does not come in each year, which means that those wage earners, the small businessmen and others who have their taxes withheld from their salaries and their paychecks must pay more"
- President John F KennedyProduced by @Naomi_Fowler for the Tax Justice Network and featuring John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network, Dr Jairo Lugo Ocando of Sheffield University and US President John F Kennedy.
Artist's impression: Luxembourg's freeportThis fascinating Economist article on Freeports is worth a blog all to itself. Among many other interesting snippets:
Switzerland remains the world’s leading gold repository. Its imports of the yellow metal have exceeded exports by some 13,000 tonnes—worth $650 billion at today’s price—since the late 1960s, says the customs agency. The gap has widened sharply since the mid-2000s. But trade statistics do not tell the whole story, since they fail to capture the quantities of gold that go straight from runways to the freeports.And of course there's this:
OECD tax boss Pascal Saint-AmansFor non-native speakers of English: blinkers are equipment that stops horses from seeing behind and to the side.
This month the OECD hosted a public consultation on Transfer Pricing, a first opportunity to evaluate its widely watched project to reform international rules for taxing multinational corporations.
The overall project, for which the OECD has coined the bland phrase `base erosion and profit shifting’ (BEPS,) is the fruit of a request from G20 world leaders in July 2012 to work out ways of dealing with the problems of taxing transnational corporations. A year later, its tax experts presented an Action Plan, which aims to produce proposals between now and December 2015.
The recent public consultation, on 12th-13th November, was a depressing event for us, dominated by special pleading by corporate tax advisers.
Anyone who doubts this can check out the video.
This is certainly what we've been hearing, and Le Temps in Switzerland has this to say:
"According to an evaluation of 50 countries whose results will be published on Friday, on the occasion of the OECD's sixth Global Forum, [Luxembourg] will be judged 'non compliant.'"Luxembourg, of course, is ranked second on our world famous Financial Secrecy Index.
Read the new Luxembourg country report for a broad, shocking story of how this small founder member of the European Union became a rogue financial state at the heart of Europe.
UK: The government’s consultation on country-by-country reporting: the results are in and better than expected Tax Research UK
Real legislative advance on country-by-country reporting in the UK
Politicians Talk Tough On Tax Haven Reform, But Activists Say Talk Is Cheap ICIJ
"The offshore world is a place of shadows and strange bedfellows. The politics of offshore reform are no different."
Pakistan: Tax evaders and tax officials Business Recorder