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Open Cayman: Reputation, rhetoric and reality

April 12, 2017   Blog, Financial Secrecy Index, Secrecy

By Alex Cobham

Last week I took up the kind invitation of the government of Cayman to speak at their conference on ‘Tax Transparency in the Global Financial Services Ecosystem’, and to meet with staff from the monetary authority, statistics office and corporate registry; and with a range of industry representatives including those from the compliance association and Cayman Finance. Above is a video of my presentation; and here a few reflections on the divergences between reputation, rhetoric and reality; and on where things now stand.

Australian beer drinker tax vs the world’s biggest gas companies

April 11, 2017   Blog, Taxing corporations

Is it fair that Australians pay more tax on one beer than the oil and gas industry pays in petroleum tax on offshore gas in a year? Might a 10% royalty guaranteeing annual revenue of between $1.3 billion and $2.8 billion be a better way to go? These are the issues rightly raised by a report just out by the McKell Institute called ‘Harnessing the Boom.’ It was written by Richard Holden, a Professor of Economics at UNSW Business School. There are some great resources on a campaign site over this issue here. One of our colleagues at Tax Justice Network Australia Jason Ward takes up the story for us here:

The Tax Justice Network Australia (TJN-Aus) has had major wins in getting the Australian government to tackle corporate tax dodging. Currently TJN-Aus is running a campaign to push the government to reform the primary tax on oil and gas production, the Petroleum Rent Resource Tax (PRRT). LNG_oz_Qatar

The current boom in exports of liquified natural gas (LNG) will catapult Australia over Qatar as the world’s largest exporter. However, on the same volume in 2019/20 Qatar will generate over $26 billion in royalties will Australia will earn nothing in PRRT from LNG. Qatar will also earn significantly more revenue from dividends from state-owned companies and corporate income tax payments.

Tax haven blacklisting in Latin America

As governments (slowly) get to grips with the fact that tax havens are inflicting great harm on economies and democracies across the globe, facilitating mega amounts of tax dodging, and vast movements of criminal money by way of the secrecy services some of them offer, the question of our times is how we deal with them. Attempts to create tax haven blacklists (in order to potentially implement sanctions for non-cooperative jurisdictions) have so far been farcical as we’ve noted many times, most recently commenting on the European Union’s current work compiling its own blacklist system, here and here. So far the criteria for inclusion in tax haven blacklists has been weak, such lists have been ineffective and it’s been far too easy for some of the world’s worst offenders to wriggle their way out of them, or simply be big and bad enough not to worry about being included in the first place – for example – Tax Haven USA. If the EU, or anyone else really wanted to do this properly, the work’s already been done for them – with the best objective ranking available – the Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index.

LatAm

The Offshore Wrapper: the Panama Papers, one year on

April 7, 2017   Blog, The Offshore Wrapper

Welcome to the Offshore Wrapper – your weekly update from TJN. 

Happy Paniversary!

This week it’s been one year since the Panama Papers were leaked, and a number of organisations around the world have been marking the occasion though the global week of action for tax justice.

In London, activists from the TJN and the Methodist Tax Justice Network held a protest outside the offices of PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Why PwC? Well the auditor has been one of the biggest promoters of tax avoidance schemes for multinationals, as well as having been implicated in a host of other corporate scandals.

New film: The Price of Fairness

April 7, 2017   Blog, Inequality & Democracy

The Price of Fairness

This new film, which features TJN Director John Christensen, explores the notion that human beings have an evolutionary tendency towards selfish behaviour and asks whether the widespread dislike of inequality is rooted in the human need for cooperation. 

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