After the Panama Papers, what does fair tax look like?

Causes and Solutions to Rising Inequality Series

On the 3rd May, Oxfam and the African Studies Centre of the University of Oxford hosted the 3rd annual joint policy symposium.  This year's event was entitled "Fair Tax: What does it look like and how do we get it?"

There is growing consensus that extreme inequality is damaging for poverty reduction, social cohesion, political accountability, and to economic growth. However, we are not seeing enough action to match the scale of the crisis.

This symposium examined potential and practical solutions to rising inequality, particularly in the South, with a particular focus on fiscal justice. It discussed the notion of "fair tax" in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal and also debated the problems countries have in establishing fair tax systems in the labyrinthine world of tax havens.

It brought together leading experts on tax, inequality and indices, who explored specific questions such as: how to define a progressive fiscal justice system, what examples of "best practice" can we learn from and what conditions help to create this?

Oxfam has been campaigning to end the era of tax havens as a core part of our Even it Up campaign. This event was a chance to explore the issue further, asking how national governments can be influenced to establish fair tax systems which address inequality and invest in services like health and education at home.

Speakers and moderators

We were joined by Dr Carlos Lopes and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa; Professor Jayati Ghosh of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi; Kevin Watkins, Executive Director of the Overseas Development Institute; and Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International (read the full speech here).  As well as Dereje Alemayehu, Global Alliance for Tax Justice; Alex Cobham, Director of Research at Tax Justice Network; Kathleen Lahey, Professor of Law, Queen’s University, Ontario; Max Lawson, Head of Inequality Policy, Oxfam International; Valpy FitzGerald, Professor of International Development Finance, University of Oxford; Christina Behrendt, Senior Social Protection Policy Specialist, ILO; Nara Monkam, African Tax Administration Forum; Cephas Makunike, Research and Policy Adviser, Tax Justice Network Africa; Estuardo Moran, Associate Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. CEQ Institute

Find out more

Watch all the videos from the event