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...]
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.
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 … [Read more...]
From the BEPS Monitoring Group, a TJN-backed civil society organisation tasked with monitoring the OECD's so-called "Base Erosion and Profit Shifting" (BEPS) proposals to crack down on international corporate tax avoidance. The (wonkish but important) submission here concerns so-called "non-CIV" … [Read more...]
This is a long read, with three main components. First, we examine the OECD's position as an international tax organisation - and the gradual weakening of its preeminence. Second, we consider two specific aspects of the OECD's work as a watchdog for noncooperative jurisdictions, as they have played … [Read more...]
. . . with new updates, April 18th The Finance Ministers of Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Spain have announced a new plan to share information about the beneficial ownership of companies, trusts, foundations and other structures, complementing existing efforts by the OECD (the Common … [Read more...]
Back in 2014 Reuters reported, in a pre-echo of the Panama scandal: "Authorities in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia [NRW] have bought a CD containing data about several thousand German clients of a Swiss bank, German newspaper Bild am Sonntag said on Sunday without citing its … [Read more...]