Friday, January 22, 2010

Angel Gurria: we want consultation on country-by-country reporting

The OECD's Global Forum on Development meets in Paris on 28th January to consider how tax contributes to development. Like us, they know that good tax policies play a crucial part in tackling poverty and promoting sustainable (which includes equitable) development.

One of the items on the agenda is our proposal for country-by-country reporting by multinational companies. This proposal, just by itself, is likely to release more tax revenues for developing countries that the combined aid budgets of the entire OECD community.

In a letter to OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, no less than 34 civil society organisations call for the OECD to carry out a review of the feasibility and impact of country-by-country reporting. The French and U.K. governments have already called for such a study, and asked that the OECD report on it to the 2010 G-20 summit later this year in Canada.

What we say in our letter, however, is that it is essential that the OECD includes a full range of stakeholders in its consultations on country-by-country report, not least civil society, especially since the idea originated from a meeting of senior TJN advisers in Saint Helier, Jersey, in October 2002.

In another submission to the OECD in advance of the Global Forum next week, civil society organisations working on tax justice matters lay out their agenda for helping developing countries tackle poverty through mobilising their domestic resources. Our top priorities include country-by-country reporting; strengthening tax information exchange and making automatic exchange the appropriate global standard to aim for; researching the mechanisms and magnitudes of cross-border illicit flows and tax evasion; and, not least, promoting and strengthening a variety of global fora at which developing countries can meaningfully participate in the process of formulating appropriate measures for strengthening international tax cooperation.

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