As the curtain closes on a G20 dominated by the Eurozone debt crisis and Greek referendum, important progress has been made in the battle against tax haven secrecy - which damages developing countries, at this high profile Cannes summit.
Martin Hearson, ActionAid’s tax policy adviser, said: “While the world’s attention has been focused on the Eurozone and Greece, the G20 has been quietly chipping away at the protective shell of financial secrecy, which hurts the economies of developing and developed countries alike. The era of banking secrecy is still far from over, but the movement towards that end is unmistakable.
“The question now is whether this progress will continue next year, when Mexico is the G20 chair. The G20 must demonstrate it will use its political power to exert sustained pressure on tax havens in the future as well as throw its weight behind efforts to help developing countries crack down on the tax dodging that undermines development.”
The G20 have made the following steps:
- Committed to signing a convention on fighting tax evasion and urged tax havens to join them adding that they will consider exchanging tax information automatically on a voluntary basis
- Received a report on the fight against tax havens that includes 11 named jurisdictions
- Recognised for the first time that multinational companies should improve tax transparency and fully comply with tax laws but did not make any concrete commitments to force them to do so
- Received expert reports with recommendations on how developing countries can fight tax dodging and raise more tax revenue: one from the IMF, World Bank, OECD and UN, one from the Global Forum on tax transparency, and one from Bill Gates on financing for development
Whilst these are important steps in the right direction ActionAid believes the G20 has missed a chance to commit to greater transparency for multinational companies.
Hearson continued: “Having commissioned three expert reports on tax and development, it’s sad that the G20 has ignored so many of the key recommendations. In particular, the OECD, IMF and Bill Gates all called on the G20 to commit to greater transparency for multinational companies, but they failed to do so”.
photo : ©Aubrey Wade/ActionAid