Tuesday 19 September 2017

Pledge to fight the 'scourge' of evasion

Andrew Woodcock

Leaders of the Lough Erne Declaration – signed by the UK, US, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia – have vowed to "fight the scourge of tax evasion" by ensuring an automatic exchange of tax information.

They have also agreed to change the rules to stop multinational companies shifting profits across borders to avoid paying their fair share.

But the 10-point document falls short of the demands of anti-poverty campaigners, who want the developing world included in the new arrangements from the start, and have called for tax information to be made available to all on public registers.

Guarantee

The declaration says that developing countries "should have the information and capacity to collect the taxes owed them", rather than guaranteeing them automatic access to the information.

And it says that "tax collectors and law enforcers" should have access to information about the ultimate owners of companies, leaving it to individual G8 countries to decide whether to make the information public.

The White House said it would leave the decision to individual US states, while Chancellor George Osborne said the UK was "open" to the idea of public registers and is consulting on the issue.

There was no mention in the declaration of the civil war in Syria, which dominated discussions.

Irish Independent

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