Oxfam Highlights Need to Deal with Tax Havens; Pushes CbC Reporting, Automatic Exchange

September 8th, 2009

In its statement to the G20 this weekend, Oxfam International highlighted the need to crack down on tax havens as a development and human rights imperative.  From Oxfam:

Reforming tax havens alone could release $160bn, reallocating an already agreed IMF bailout could free up another $89bn, and introducing a currency transaction tax could raise at least a further $30bn – each a significant sum to help poor people suffering in the crisis.

The money is desperately needed to prevent the crisis derailing efforts to reduce poverty as developing countries suffer job losses because of falling trade and capital flows. According World Bank and UN estimates, between 50-100 million more people will be trapped in poverty this year, forced to survive on less than $1.25 per day.

How the three proposals would work:

Deal with tax havens. Put in place a multilateral agreement for the automatic exchange of full tax information and require country-by-country reporting of subsidiaries, sales and profits by multinational corporations, to help developing countries recoup lost tax revenue. This could result in a further US$160 billion for poor countries, and at the same time would enable rich countries to recover their lost tax revenues. The current OECD initiative on tax havens, supported by the G20, relies on bilateral agreements between countries. To date no developing country has signed a bilateral agreement with a tax haven.

It’s great to see an influential NGO like Oxfam recognizing the damage that tax evasion does to the developing world.  Moreover, it’s absolutely fantastic to see them echoing our call for automatic exchange of tax infomation, and country-by-country reporting.

Written by Clark Gascoigne

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