The European Commission has just published its proposals for rules for tax advisers and related intermediaries which will require advance disclosure to national tax authorities and cross-border automatic information exchange of any tax scheme that might be deemed potentially aggressive.
Tax havens cause enormous damage, not least because they block governments from fulfilling their human rights obligations. When rich people and powerful businesses evade paying taxes by using offshore tax havens they deprive states of the revenues they need to deliver on their commitments to provide education, health, justice and security. In this forthcoming book, Isle of Man-based lawyer Paul Beckett takes a human rights-based approach to the uses of tax havens and considers how the governments of tax havens actively connive with the process of breaching human rights.
It came to our attention recently that a blog written for us by Associate Professor of Philosophy at Central European University Philip Goff prompted extensive discussion. The blog was called No, it’s not your money: why taxation isn’t theft. This concept that taxes paid by individuals and companies, used by government for the provision of public services are somehow ‘theft’ seems to excite a lot of people.
By Alex Cobham
There are now a range of estimates of the global scale of tax avoidance. These include:
- the $600 billion annual tax loss estimated by IMF researchers Crivelli et al. (2015; 2016), which divides roughly into $400 billion of OECD losses and $200 billion elsewhere;
- the $100 billion annual tax losses that UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2015 estimated for developing countries due only to conduit FDI investment through ‘tax havens’;
- the $100 billion to $240 billion globally that OECD researchers estimate;
- the $130 billion globally that we have estimated as annual losses due to avoidance by US multinationals only; and so on.
New figures published today by the Tax Justice Network provide a country-level breakdown of the estimated tax losses to profit shifting by multinational companies. Applying a methodology developed by researchers at the International Monetary Fund to an improved dataset, the results indicate global losses of around $500 billion a year. The figures appear in a study published today by the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER, in Helsinki).