On September 13, COFFERS consortium partner, the Tax Justice Network organized a COFFERS-themed workshop entitled, ‘Corporate Tax Haven Index’. The workshop followed the 4th African Tax Research Network Congress in Ifrane, Morocco. COFFERS work package leader Markus Meinzer introduced the Corporate Tax Haven Index (CTHI) concept and with Leyla Ates (COFFERS and Altinbas University) shared with participants the results of a pilot study.
The research underpinning the CTHI is one of the planned outputs of the COFFERS project. The CTHI measures how intensely a jurisdiction abuses its autonomy over CIT rates and base rules to enable and incite tax spillovers; the impact of one jurisdiction’s rules and practices on another’s rule-setting autonomy. The CTHI provides a measure of the ‘success’ of a jurisdiction in the pursuit of a corporate tax haven strategy.
COFFERS’ Richard Murphy argues in the UK’s Guardian twentieth century accounting procedures require three specific reforms if problems in taxing multinational corporations are to be addressed.
Read full story at The Guardian here
Anastasia Nesvetailova analyses the premises, aims and likely efficacy of UK’s new policy targeting Russian ‘dirty’ money. Her argument is threefold: a) the premise that all Russian money inflows into London are ‘dirty’ over-simplifies the state of the economy and the nature of London as a global financial centre; b) in practice, distinguishing between ‘dirty’ money and ‘clean’ capital being used in London is likely to be impossible; c) in the face of Brexit, the UK’s proclaimed policy tackling dirty money inflows is likely to be toothless.
Read the full story here or reprinted in Estonian here.
Professor Anastasia Nesvetailova (City, University of London) was invited to serve on the Advisory Group to the OECD Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) on Illicit Financial Flows and Commodity Trading. The remit of the group is to develop a programme of work to be adopted by the OECD ACTT to target illicit money flows associated with commodity trading.
On June 21st the European Parliament held a public hearing, “Lessons Learnt from the Paradise Papers”. The first panel in the hearing explored developments since the leak of the Panama Papers, with Lucia Flores (COFFERS and Utrecht) providing input together with experts from the OECD and International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
The hearing was interested in the work of COFFERS project and its future impact. There were specific questions on areas including the concept of Global Wealth Chains (CBS) the role of academia in research on, and the development of tax avoidance schemes, bearer shares (TJN), the quantification of how much tax money is evaded and how much money is laundered across the EU (UU) and specific tax evasion/avoidance schemes being researched within COFFERS.
Russian “dirty money” in London has been identified as a security threat to the UK. This argument over-simplifies the issue and ignores the nature of London as a financial centre, reliant on the EU and emerging markets for liquidity. As a global financial hub, London has been welcoming capital, often laundered on the way to London through an elaborate chain of shell companies and offshore schemes. In the face of Brexit and risking losing its main financial market – the EU – the UK cannot jeopardize its links to emerging economies, Russia included. The political measures currently proposed therefore, are likely to be toothless.
Read the full story at The Conversation
The Story was later picked up by the UK newspaper, The Independent
3. Turkish-German Biennial on International Tax Law
The conference focus on the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (the MLI) that is one of the outcomes of the OECD/G20 Project to tackle Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). The MLI provides signatory jurisdictions an effective way to quickly implement BEPS measures including minimum standards that first OECD and G20 countries and then the Inclusive Framework countries have agreed that must be implemented. The speakers in the first session will discuss this international treaty from international public law and policy perspective. The second session’s speakers will go details of two important substantive articles of the MLI. Tax administration and private sectors professionals from two signatories of the MLI namely Germany and Turkey will discuss practical implications of the MLI based on the German-Turkish double tax treaty in the third session.
Earlier this month, the International Tax Review released the Global Tax 50 for 2017, its annual rundown of the most influential individuals, organisations, geopolitical events, and trends in the tax world. Two COFFERS researchers were featured in the rankings, with Richard Murphy from City, University of London ranked in the top 10 and Rasmus Corlin Christensen from Copenhagen Business School also ranked. Murphy has featured on six of the past seven lists while this was Christensen’s first entry. The honors are a testament to the impact being made by COFFERS researchers in the wider tax community based on our ongoing work.
The extended COFFERS consortium enjoyed a productive two days in Prague for our first Annual General Assembly. Hosted by our partners at Charles University and attended by Senior Advisory Board members, Jane McCormick (Global Head of Tax, KPMG); Professor Sol Picciotto (Lancaster University and Onati Institute), Professor Brigitte Young (Munster University) and Burkhard Mühl (Austrian Ministry of Interior) the meeting took stock of where COFFERS is and where COFFERS is going. Discussions included presentations on the tax implications of the Legal Entity Identifier, developments in the taxation of portfolio income, the tax gap and techniques for mapping tax ecosystem evolution.
Coffers’ researcher Alex Cobham from Tax Justice Network recently spoke at an event entitled ‘Technical challenges and solutions for taxing wealth in developing countries’ at the World Bank/International Monetary Fund annual meetings on 15th October 2017. Is a new Washington Consensus emerging to replace the old one, which arguably has contributed to growing economic inequalities?
The main criticisms of the IMF have centred on its leading role in promoting a ‘tax consensus‘ that not only lacks a sound economic rationale, but that has demonstrably damaged the benefits of tax for many lower-income countries. The approach, in simple terms, has emphasised indirect taxes at the expense of direct taxes; VAT over trade taxes; set a low revenue ambition, and left redistribution to be done through (limited) expenditure. More than ten years ago, the Fund’s own Fiscal Affairs Department – and Michael Keen in particular, now the department’s deputy director – published research showing how the introduction of VAT on this basis failed to replace crucial revenues for lower income countries. Equity, too, has long been an element of the Fund’s thinking. But for many years the organisation’s country advice, where policy decisions are influenced, continued to bang the same drum.
read more here: https://www.taxjustice.net/2017/10/19/tax-justice-new-washington-consensus/