Wednesday, 1 April 2009

I had an interesting conversation about tax regulation today

I really did. Richard Mabey from the Tax Justice Network

He says that effective taxation (the eradication of tax avoidance and tax evasion) would enable a world without development aid. Each year, approximately $400 billion of taxation revenue is lost to governments through the use of evasive taxation techniques. This sum would pay for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals eight times over. Every year.

The TJN lobbies for a global system of tax declaration that is both multilateral (ie, a mutual system between all the member governments) and automatic (rather than governments having to request individual pieces of information). The G20 is not expected to deliver this this time around, but the issue is creeping up the agenda - because taxation revenue suddenly looks a lot more important to most of these governments.

Tomorrow's communique is expected to announce the setting up of a definitive list of tax havens, and a move towards automatic information sharing. The TJN sees this as the beginning of a move towards tax justice.


  1. Oh how interesting. But is this one of those things like "if we had no weapons," e.g. impossible?

  2. I utterly agree with this. As someone who pays tax in two countries rather than one due to Mr Brown's ever expansive tax schemes that fear my small change might be going to someone else's taxman, I think the government should stop worrying about individuals, and concentrate on the large corporations with whole departments devoted to tax evasion.

  3. Well yes quite MumofTwo. But then I currently pay no tax so possibly have less right to commment on this issue than some.

  4. I dipped in and out of his chat, Pol, and it was v. interesting - seems that tax havens are seen as an irritation that rich individuals use, but that the bigger issue of the multinationals using them has been rather off most people's radar.

  5. In the States, corporate taxation is interesting because states set their own policies on things like corporate taxation, sales tax, etc. so you find that businesses often establish holding companies in places like Delaware, which are v. tax-friendly; probably a related issue.

    Agree with Mo2 on need to go after corporate tax evaders more than individuals though.