We're pleased to share this blog from Senior Policy Advisor at Oxfam Novib, Francis Weyzig, originally published here on how tax havens continue to undermine the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard, an information standard for the automatic exchange of tax and financial information on a global level. … [Read more...]
If a person or entity resident in one jurisdiction owns income-generating assets in another jurisdiction, the resident’s tax authorities generally need to know about that asset or income, to assess their tax liabities. So jurisdictions exchange information with each other for tax (and other) purposes under a range of international schemes, agreements and protocols. Many, of course, don’t exchange or even collect that information locally – or they put up obstacles in the way of information exchange.
Historically, the OECD, a club of rich countries that has been mandated by G20 leaders to promote the agenda, has claimed that its very weak “on request” standards for information exchange constitute the “internationally agreed standard” for information exchange. “On request” means that information is only passed over after a clear request is made, specifying the taxpayer concerned and various other bits of information about him or her. In essence, you have to already know what you are looking for before you ask for it.
However, from around 2012 a new consensus started to emerge, strongly supported by the Tax Justice Network and its allies, that the world needs far stronger standards, notably “automatic” information exchange between jurisdiction, on a multilateral basis. Various working examples of automatic information exchange are already up and running: perhaps most notably the EU’s Savings Tax Directive and the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA.)
This page provides links and news about information exchange. See also our information exchange archive for older stories.
Image credit: Christian Aid, with thanks.
The OECD’s Common Reporting Standard (CRS) for automatic exchange of banking information leaves the door wide open for fraud. The OECD has recently made available a form to report potential avoidance schemes of the CRS. While this form is a first useful step - we've been sharing with them the … [Read more...]
In less than a year data will start to flow under a new scheme for countries to share information automatically across borders, to help each other collect taxes from their taxpayers and fight financial crimes and abuses. The scheme is the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) which was set up by the … [Read more...]
The automatic exchange of information between countries' tax authorities has been trumpeted as a game changer for the fight against tax evasion. But the publication of the latest data shows that many countries, including some tax havens, are being very selective about who they are choosing to share … [Read more...]
In July we wrote a blog entitled Luxembourg backing down on supporting tax haven USA. Now it's Switzerland's turn. This concerns the OECD's Common Reporting Standard (CRS,) a global scheme to share banking information. The United States isn't a participating jurisdiction: it has its own FATCA … [Read more...]
From the United Nations General Assembly, the fifth report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order. The summary goes like this: "The report focuses on impacts of taxation on human rights and explores the challenges posed to the international … [Read more...]
Update: as it happens, The Economist has just published an excellent story about the Bahamas, subtitled The Bahamas Cocks a Snook at the War on Tax Dodgers. (Our only beef with that subtitle is that this is about so much more than just tax.) We've periodically remarked on the Bahamas as a secrecy … [Read more...]
The UK's All Party Parliamentary Group on Tax has published a report entitled A more responsible global tax system or a ‘sticking plaster’? An examination of the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) process and recommendations. They consulted us (among many others) and the result is a … [Read more...]
Finance Ministers from the G20 countries meet in China on July 23-24 - this weekend. Amid sessions that will focus heavily on Brexit-related issues, there will be an important tax component. At their previous meeting they mandated the OECD to "establish objective criteria . . . to identify … [Read more...]
A month ago we wrote an article entitled Now Luxembourg, Switzerland are working to bolster Tax Haven USA. This concerns a global scheme to share banking information, the OECD-led Common Reporting Standard, (CRS, which starts up next year and complements separate schemes and campaigns to see public … [Read more...]
The European Union, amid all the Brexit turmoil, has issued a proposal for a new Directive on money laundering and terrorist financing. Transparency, of course, is at the core of it. The Panama Papers scandal has given new urgency to the task of unmasking the corrupt, the crooks and other financial … [Read more...]
From Global Witness: "Information on who ultimately owns and controls British companies goes live for the first time today." That's good news, amid all the Brexit brouhaha (and idiotic and dangerous plans to privatise the UK's Land Registry.) Meanwhile, the FACT coalition in the United States … [Read more...]
Update: making clear that the Swiss text we cited is a provisional test. As we've often said before, it is counterproductive (and an analytical error) to see the fight against tax havens in purely geographical terms. When the U.S. Justice Department started taking action against Swiss bankers, … [Read more...]
Update: Part 2 is here. As the political dust settles on the Panama papers and the anti-corruption summit, the focus is now moving to concrete solutions. In June 2016 the European Union is expected to review its anti-money laundering directive, including controversial rules on the beneficial … [Read more...]
The UK government has failed to deliver a decisive blow against financial secrecy at its Anti-Corruption Summit. David Cameron failed to convince or compel leaders of British overseas territories and crown dependencies to end their hidden ownership vehicles, despite having called for such a move for … [Read more...]