Friday, January 29, 2010

More signs of global traction for TJN's CbC standard

From The Guardian this morning:

"The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Paris-based thinktank for the world's 30 richest nations, will publish guidelines that could force companies to reveal the profits they make and tax they pay in every country in which they operate. The development represents a major breakthrough for the British government after it backed concerted calls by non- governmental organisations to introduce the measure."

And it adds:

"Richard Murphy, joint founder of influential campaign group Tax Justice Network, said: "This is not binding and there will be resistance from business but country-by-country reporting is going to happen and the OECD is now putting pressure on the IASB to deliver this. We are moving in the right direction."

Murphy has a piece in Forbes today, exploring this issue further.

We already noted optimistic noises from the UK's Stephen Timms - though it is, of course, easy to make encouraging noises about future moves, when it will almost certainly be another government who will be implementing!

We also note what the OECD communique said:

"Participants decided to set up a Task Force on Tax and Development. This will convene in early 2010 as an informal group representative of all stakeholders, to develop clear and effective mechanisms for implementation and avoid duplication. The informal Task Force will begin by mapping out existing international efforts relating to tax and development."

One attendee of the OECD meeting in Paris (see previous blogs) sent us these comments (slightly abbreviated):
  • I miss some clear objectives about how the peer to peer review will integrate the Developing countries issues.
  • There is no clear sign that offshore centres will agree or have to be part of any multilateral process.
  • We don't know whether the civil society will be included in the PtP Review process.
  • Automatic Information Exchange is perhaps aimed at, but only as soon as the capacity in developing countries exists. This sounds to me like "you will have the right to go to the swimming pool as soon as you can swim."
More generally, I feel as if the tone of the discussion was making a gentle shift from an uncomfortable process about information exchange towards a very flat aid politics, ending up with some more computers sold to tax administrations in the south (« capacity building »).


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