European ministers swing and miss against tax havens
In response to the proposal presented today by the finance ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, and supported by the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Oxfam’s tax policy expert Susana Ruiz said:
“Today’s so-called ‘hammer blow’ against tax cheats misses its mark. If the proposed registry of beneficial owners of companies and trusts is hidden from the public, how can we know who is hiding their profits and fortunes and trying to avoid paying their fair share?
“The Panama Papers have shown how massive, widespread and toxic the abuse of tax havens really is. Those who pay the price are the poorest; when taxes aren’t paid and government budgets get squeezed, Oxfam has seen that it’s often social programs that the most vulnerable depend on that get cut first. National governments and global institutions need to regain the public’s trust. This requires real transparency and a serious international commitment by all countries.
“Making Panama the villain will not fix the problem. Without an international, coordinated approach to this problem, the billions hidden in one will simply be moved to another. We can’t wait for these kinds of plans ‘catch fire’ and spread to other countries on their own. Now more than ever, we see the need for a global tax body, where all countries are involved in setting the rules, otherwise, some countries will slip away and the pattern will repeat itself.”
Oxfam experts on a range of issues including tax, gender inequality, and land and environmental safeguards, will be available for interviews and briefings.
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International will be in Washington and available for interview.
Simon Hernandez-Arthur in Washington, D.C.
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