Oxfam International Blogs - LuxLeaks http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/luxleaks en Paradise Papers exposes feeble political attempts to end tax havens http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-11-05-paradise-papers-exposes-feeble-political-attempts-end-tax-havens <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Another year, another scandal.</strong></p> <p>First came <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxembourg_Leaks">#LuxLeaks</a>, then <a href="https://panamapapers.icij.org/">#PanamaPapers</a>. Today, reporters all over the world are covering the <a href="https://www.icij.org/investigations/paradise-papers/">Paradise Papers</a>, based on leaked documents from yet another offshore tax firm, showing how international corporations and billionaires hide their fortunes and avoid paying taxes.</p> <p>Why is Oxfam campaigning on this at all? For one simple reason -- the money sitting in these tax havens could be used to fund schools, hospitals, and help people escape poverty.</p> <p><a href="http://endtaxhavensnow.org"><strong>Join the movement to End Tax Havens</strong></a></p> <h3>Tax, poverty, inequality</h3> <p>This is about more than just basic fairness. This kind of tax dodging causes very real damage.</p> <p>Corporate tax dodging alone costs poor countries at least $100 billion every year - enough money to provide an education for 124 million children and prevent the deaths of at least six million children.</p> <p>Many of the companies and individuals involved in these scandals defend themselves by saying, “but this wasn’t illegal!”</p> <p>That’s a big part of the problem.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr" xml:lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ParadisePapers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ParadisePapers</a> Corporate tax dodging costs poor countries at least $100bn est every year. Time to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EndTaxHavens?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EndTaxHavens</a>→ <a href="https://t.co/comlRnuOnE">https://t.co/comlRnuOnE</a> <a href="https://t.co/TQSdR1iPxk">pic.twitter.com/TQSdR1iPxk</a></p> <p>— Oxfam International (@Oxfam) <a href="https://twitter.com/Oxfam/status/927257993971937280?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 5, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async="" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><h3>The tax system benefits the rich</h3> <p>In too many places, tax codes are purposefully riddled with loopholes to benefit the wealthiest. Super-rich corporations and individuals spend millions of dollars lobbying to make sure that their fortunes stay safe.</p> <p>Just look at the current tax reforms <a href="https://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2017/11/3-reasons-not-to-get-on-board-with-the-new-house-tax-bill/">under debate right now</a> in the United States. The plan would create new incentives for companies to stash even more funds in tax havens, starving government agencies of badly-needed funds to help the poorest. It’s Robin Hood in reverse.</p> <p>The other part of the problem is the so-called “race to the bottom,” where countries take turns slashing corporate tax rates and offering incentives in a frenzied bid to attract investment.</p> <p>The truth is, corporate taxes are lower than they’ve been in decades in many countries. The average rate across G20 countries was 40 percent in 1990; today, it’s less than 30.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr" xml:lang="en">"Outraged at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ParadisePapers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ParadisePapers</a> tax scandal? Join the movement to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EndTaxHavens?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EndTaxHavens</a>!" <a href="https://twitter.com/Winnie_Byanyima?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Winnie_Byanyima</a> <a href="https://t.co/comlRnuOnE">https://t.co/comlRnuOnE</a> <a href="https://t.co/zEFUNWZLHm">pic.twitter.com/zEFUNWZLHm</a></p> <p>— Oxfam International (@Oxfam) <a href="https://twitter.com/Oxfam/status/927536408776060928?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 6, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async="" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><h3>So where do we go from here?</h3> <p>One thing’s clear — the “fixes” that have been tried barely scratch the surface of the problem.</p> <p>The OECD and the G20 have promoted the <a href="http://www.oecd.org/tax/beps/">“BEPS” tax reforms</a>, and have managed to persuade more than 100 countries to sign on. This process though does little to prevent the use of tax havens, and limits how much poor countries can get out of the process.</p> <p>Furthermore, the <a href="https://www.taxjustice.net/2017/06/28/empty-oecd-tax-haven-blacklist-undermines-progress/">“blacklist” of tax havens</a> that these two organizations published earlier this year contained just one country on it - a sharp disconnect with the real picture that scandals like this one paint.</p> <h3>Three key ways to End Tax Havens</h3> <p>Here are three things that need to happen to get to the root of the problem:</p> <ol><li><strong>We need a real blacklist</strong>, one based on objective, comprehensive criteria, and free from political interference. Listed countries should face stiff penalties.</li> <li><strong>To end tax secrecy, we need transparency</strong>. Governments should make multinational companies report publicly their financial information to see where they do business and where they pay taxes.  They should also establish a publicly-available, centralized register of companies, foundations and trusts, and we should know who their real owners are. This will make it easier to follow the money.</li> <li><strong>Finally, we need a second round of tax reforms</strong> to build on the BEPS process, but this time around, it should work in favor of all countries, and not just the wealthiest.</li> </ol><p>These changes take a lot of time and effort, but most importantly, they take political will.</p> <p>Otherwise, the super-rich will keep siphoning billions of dollars away from our homes and into their offshore accounts.</p> <p><em>This entry posted by Simon Hernandez-Arthur, Oxfam Media Officer, on 5 November 2017.</em></p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="http://endtaxhavensnow.org"><strong>Join the movement to End Tax Havens</strong></a></p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Paradise Papers exposes feeble political attempts to end tax havens</h2></div> Sun, 05 Nov 2017 18:17:09 +0000 Guest Blogger 81276 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-11-05-paradise-papers-exposes-feeble-political-attempts-end-tax-havens#comments Why do the tax affairs of a wealthy European Duchy matter to Oxfam? http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-11-05-why-do-tax-affairs-wealthy-european-duchy-matter-oxfam <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Today is the 1 year anniversary of <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23LuxLeaks&amp;src=tyah" rel="nofollow"><strong>#LuxLeaks</strong></a>, the scandal which revealed the tax secrets of 350 multi-billion companies. The three whistle blowers who revealed the tax dealings are currently facing criminal charges. </p> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/GlobalTaxBody/status/661878355244015616/photo/1" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><img height="440" width="543" typeof="Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/twitter.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>But what have the tax policies of a small, wealthy European country got to do with Oxfam’s work to fight poverty?<strong> Here are some of the reasons why we marked the anniversary as part of our <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/node/5948" rel="nofollow">Even It Up campaign</a>.</strong></p> <p><strong>1.</strong> <strong>The tip of the iceberg:</strong> It's tax tricks like the Luxleaks scandal which are the beating heart of the rigged global tax system that deprives governments of billions. </p> <p><strong>2. Tackling inequality</strong>: Fighting tax dodging is a critical part of the global fight against inequality. Combined together, fixing the <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/15-10-08-oxfam-calls-second-generation-corporate-tax-reforms"><strong>international web of rigged rules</strong></a>, tax loop holes and accounting tricks would be a giant leap when it comes to solving inequality. For example, the $100 billion developing countries lose to tax dodging is a lot of potential financing for the schools, hospitals and infrastructure projects that are key to tackling inequality. </p> <p><strong>3. </strong> <strong>Information is powerful</strong>: Individuals like the whistle blowers wouldn’t have to put their freedom on the line to reveal this information if companies were obliged to publish where they do business and where they pay tax. Without this information being publicly available, it’s more challenging to set the system straight. In rich and poor countries alike, we need governments to make companies publish their tax affairs allowing citizens to call on governments to hold companies to account if they’re tax dodging .From Warsaw to London, Europeans blew their whistles in solidarity with the LuxLeaks whistle blowers and to call for an end to corporate tax secrecy.</p> <p><strong>Watch and share the video below to blow your whistle and join the movement to <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/even-it-up" rel="nofollow">Even It Up</a>. </strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/05MCZCUQjuU" frameborder="0" height="480" width="640"></iframe></p> <p> </p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><img height="146" width="220" typeof="Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/styles/medium/public/blogimages/eyd_motto_en_1.png?itok=0z-pz2PF" alt="" title="" /><img alt="EU logo" title="EU logo" height="123" width="141" typeof="Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/blogimages/eu_logo_and_phrase_low_res_1.png" /></p> <p><em>This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Oxfam and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union</em></p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/action/governments-must-tackle-inequality-now" rel="nofollow"><strong>Push Governments to tackle inequality now</strong></a></p> <p><strong>Read Oxfam's flagship report on economic inequalit: <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/working-few" rel="nofollow">Working for the Few</a></strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/working-few" rel="nofollow"> </a></p> <p> </p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Why do the tax affairs of a wealthy European Duchy matter to Oxfam? </h2></div> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 12:35:16 +0000 Francesca Carnibella 28923 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-11-05-why-do-tax-affairs-wealthy-european-duchy-matter-oxfam#comments Breaking the cycle: How Europe can stop industrial tax dodging http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-02-11-breaking-cycle-how-europe-can-stop-industrial-tax-dodging <div class="field field-name-body"><h3>HSBC’s Swiss branch helped over 130,000 wealthy people dodge their taxes. This is yet another shocking scandal making tax dodging appear more like a film franchise than a damaging global practice. Here's how the European Union could help ensure justice.</h3> <p>What would once have been shocking revelations exposing a global industry helping corporations and wealthy individuals dodge tax, now feels merely like history repeating itself. <strong><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/feb/09/hsbc-files-bank-swiss-arm-tax-international-response">Monday's</a> <a href="http://rt.com/business/230483-hsbc-leak-swiss-bank/">newspapers</a></strong> once again stripped back the murky world of international tax avoidance, detailing how the global banking giant HSBC’s Swiss branch helped over 130,000 wealthy people pay the smallest amount of tax possible on their savings between 2006 and 2007. Tax badly needed to plug government spending gaps in, for example, health and education services across Europe instead flowed into the pockets of the already wealthy.</p> <p>As appalling as this may be, it isn’t surprising. The ‘<a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23SwissLeaks&amp;src=typd"><strong>SwissLeaks</strong></a>’ exposé is just the latest sequel in a horror show of news stories over the past two years, with the ‘<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offshore_leaks"><strong>OffshoreLeaks</strong></a>’,  ‘<a href="http://www.icij.org/project/luxembourg-leaks"><strong>LuxLeaks</strong></a>’ and ‘<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LuxLeaks2?src=hash"><strong>LuxLeaks 2</strong></a>’ scandals making tax dodging appear more like a film franchise than a damaging global practice.</p> <p><strong>Despite tax scandals becoming almost as common</strong> as new super hero movies, the European Union remains sluggish in combatting the situation, regardless of some initially encouraging signs. Such a damning set of revelations must inspire the change desperately needed within the EU to ensure that multinationals and the super-rich pay their fair share. The EU may talk the talk, but it now needs to walk the walk – and walk it briskly.</p> <p> Here are three actions which the European Union could take to help ensure tax justice.</p> <h3>1. Enact transparency legislation</h3> <p>One area where the European Union needs to do better is around transparency. Believe it or not, legislation making companies publicly report on where they have real economic activity - subsidiaries, employees and assets - and where they declare profits and pay taxes is not in place. Checking discrepancies within this information would help to raise questions on why so many multinationals declare profits in countries like Luxembourg, while employing so few people there.</p> <p>On a more positive note, new legislation coming into force in the next two years will require EU countries to establish registers containing core information on who owns companies and trusts - such as names and date of birth. All countries should ensure these registers are made public, in order to remove the veil that tax dodgers and money launderers have so far been able to hide behind.</p> <h3>2. Monitor tax rulings</h3> <p>The European Union has also decided to ensure tax rulings – agreements allowing certain multinationals to negotiate sweet tax deals with certain European countries – are automatically exchanged between tax administrations in Europe. While a baby step forward, this is nowhere near close to what is needed, as it won’t stop the practice of tax rulings being made for the sole purpose of avoiding taxes.</p> <p>Ensuring these tax rulings are publicly available may be an effective deterrent, but should go hand in hand with policy on how to avoid tax rulings being misused for tax dodging purposes.</p> <h3><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/default/files/blogimages/tax-avoidance-cartoon.jpg"><img alt="Tax avoidance cartoon" src="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/default/files/blogimages/tax-avoidance-cartoon.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 228px; float: right;" /></a>3. Clamp down on tax havens</h3> <p>These measures will give the EU the ability to see through the haze of international finance and catch tax dodgers hiding their secret millions, but it is not enough. To complement the vision to spot tax dodging Europe also needs the teeth to <strong><a href="http://www.icij.org/blog/2015/02/hsbc-could-face-prosecution-swiss-leaks-fallout-continues">punish companies</a></strong> and people dodging tax, and the tax havens that help them get away with it.</p> <p><strong>Sanctions must be applied</strong> to known tax havens to stop them syphoning money away from countries genuinely owed tax, and a common European blacklist of tax havens should be created to identify the main offenders.</p> <h3>Breaking the scandalous cycle</h3> <p>History does not have to repeat itself, and Europe possesses the tools it needs to break the cycle of industrial tax dodging by both multinational companies and individuals alike. Europe can demonstrate the international leadership required to help end these practices at a global level, but the main question is - does it have the political will?</p> <p>The SwissLeaks scandal may simply be the latest in a long line of tax evasion scandals, but if Europe can use greater measures to effectively uncover tax dodging and tougher sanctions to fight it, it may also be one of the last.</p> <p><em>This post was written by Catherine Olier, Oxfam International’s Policy Advisor for EU taxation, <a href="https://twitter.com/CatherineOlier">@CatherineOlier</a>. Posted on 11 February 2015.</em></p> <p><em>Photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/koen_photos/4457335881/">https://www.flickr.com/photos/koen_photos/4457335881/</a> (used under CC BY-ND 2.0)</em></p> <p><em>For updates, please follow <a href="http://twitter.com/Oxfam">@Oxfam</a>.</em></p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/action/make-corporations-pay-their-fair-share"><strong>Join the call to make tax fair now.</strong></a></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/15-01-23-why-oxfam-calling-world-tax-summit"><strong>Why is Oxfam calling for a World Tax Summit?</strong></a></p> <p><strong>Read Oxfam’s latest report: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/wealth-having-it-all-and-wanting-more">Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Share our tax graphic below</strong>. For more graphics to share, check out our <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/oxfaminternatl/poverty-and-inequality/"><strong>"Poverty and Inequality" Pinterest</strong></a>.</p> <h3><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/default/files/tax-breaks-help-the-top-facebook-en.jpg"><img alt="Let's Make Tax Fair" src="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/default/files/tax-breaks-help-the-top-facebook-en.jpg" style="width: 680px; float: left;" /></a></h3> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Breaking the cycle: How Europe can stop industrial tax dodging</h2></div> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 17:52:21 +0000 Catherine Olier 25260 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-02-11-breaking-cycle-how-europe-can-stop-industrial-tax-dodging#comments