Sunday, April 29, 2012

Council of Europe: Stop Tax Havens with Corp Tax Transparency

From Europe, we see movement on corporate tax transparency in the form of a council resolution:

Strasbourg, 27.04.2012 – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has demanded a series of steps to end what it calls “massive tax avoidance, evasion and fraud” caused by secrecy jurisdictions, tax havens and offshore financial centres. 
Adopting a resolution ... the parliamentarians said tackling global distortions due to harmful or predatory tax practices – including bank secrecy, lack of transparency and effective public oversight, regulatory dumping, predatory tax arrangements and abusive accounting techniques within multinational companies – was “a moral duty” because they drain public finances and cause serious harm to the public interest. 
The resolution calls for the following corporate tax disclosure items:
  • country-by-country reporting by multinationals wherever they operate, across all business sectors
  • a ban on anonymous accounts, off-balance-sheet bookkeeping and bearer shares
  • disclosure of the ultimate beneficial ownership of all business entities, notably trusts and funds
  • moving towards the automatic exchange of all tax information
With this kind of disclosure, that NYT story on Apple would not be so maddeningly imprecise.

h/t Richard Murphy, for whom this is "another campaign win"--quite so.  

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