OECD move against tax dodging not good enough, says Christian Aid
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have missed another opportunity to show it is committed to ensuring developing countries benefit from changes in international tax practices, says Christian Aid.
The OECD has recently announced details of a new global standard on Automatic Exchange of Information, the process by which jurisdictions can share details of offshore accounts and account holders – vital for tackling tax evasion.
Christian Aid believes there are flaws in the OECD’s option of a Multilateral Compent Authority Agreement – in which all countries signing up have to share information with all the other signatories – as it believes it could be open to abuse by tax havens unwilling to divulge details of those taking advantage of the secrecy they offer.
Joseph Stead, Christian Aid senior economic adviser, commented: “While there are some things to welcome, it will be too easy for developing countries to be excluded. As well as the fact that admission to the multilateral process can be vetoed without reason by any country, there is no mechanism for allowing developing countries to opt out of the requirement to provide information temporarily until they have the capacity to do so.
There has been no official explanation as to why developing countries have not been offered a staggered approach to automatic information exchange, but there is a suggestion that some countries are opposed, especially offshore centres.
“We need to see all financial centres commit to multilateral automatic information exchange with all countries requesting information as quickly as possible. This includes not just the likes of Switzerland which has talked of only agreeing to automatic information exchange with countries with close economic and political ties, but also places like the USA and Australia which are yet to commit to early adoption,” added Stead.