Attend a Paris OECD Meeting in Your Pajamas!
November 11th, 2013
November 11th, 2013
The doors of international institutions can be very far away from many civil society organizations, both literally in terms of distance and expense to get there, and figuratively in terms of whether the international institutions know enough about the organization to extend an invitation to you. This leaves many civil society organizations around the world very much outside the process of international standard setting.
I am pleased to report that you don’t need an invitation to attend the OECD’s consultation meeting on transfer pricing documentation and country by country reporting, set for November 12 and 13 in Paris. You can do so from your sofa, in your pajamas. The OECD has decided to live stream these meetings so that the world is able to attend (in their pajamas).
Why do I think it is important for you to tune in? Having attended several consultations and working group meetings at the OECD, I will admit that they are long and there are certainly some very dull stretches. But there are also moments of clarity. There are statements of import. It is much easier to see the lines of argument being used by various stakeholders – things that might be important to address or that could be brought into your own organization’s policy as an identification of common ground. Put simply, being in the room and face to face is important. From your sofa, at least you’ll be able to see their faces, and perhaps you can tweet your comments and observations at the OECD to register your interest in the discussion taking place. The agenda for the meeting and the link to watch the proceedings can be found here: http://www.oecd.org/ctp/transfer-pricing/public-consultation-transfer-princing-draft-agenda.pdf and here: http://video.oecd.org/.
What is important about this consultation in particular? It has become evident that the OECD and the G20 are embracing the idea of country by country reporting, but only in order to provide that information to tax authorities. Despite the fact that this entire BEPS agenda is a response to public outcry over the tax arbitrage and abusive transfer pricing problems that have been known by tax officials for years, the solutions being proposed do not take account of the public accountability and public interest now inherent in the issue. It is GFI’s position that country by country reporting information should be made publicly available for a variety of reasons that I outlined in GFI’s response to the consultation paper, and I know that many blog readers share that view. Ahead of the November 12-13 meetings, you can access the OECD’s public consultation document here: http://www.oecd.org/ctp/transfer-pricing/white-paper-transfer-pricing-documentation.pdf and the comments that they received to that consultation here: http://www.oecd.org/ctp/transfer-pricing/public-comments-white-paper-transfer-pricing-documentation.htm.
So kick off those dressy work shoes, put on your fuzzy slippers, and head to Paris tomorrow!