Sven Giegold
Member of the European Parliament – Greens/EFA Group

Speaker of the German Green Delegation

The OECD Global Forum: Extending the automatic exchange of information on tax matters

Dear friends and all those who are interested,

The OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes starts on Wednesday, December 9. The Global Forum comprises over 160 member states and is the most important international institution in the fight against tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. The three-day conference will focus on “Transparency for tax purposes in the time of COVID-19” and will address how countries can work together to make their tax systems fairer and generate much needed public revenues. More information can be found here: https://twitter.com/sven_giegold/status/1335937282205999108

In 2014, the OECD created a strong framework for the automatic exchange of financial information with the Common Reporting Standard which has since been adopted by more than 100 countries. This common standard has laid the foundation for important changes in European law. We must build on this common basis and extend the automatic exchange of tax-relevant information to other assets. At present, there are still too many exceptions to the rules on mandatory exchange of information, which reduce the effectiveness of this important framework for more tax transparency. These exceptions allow corrupt elites and white-collar criminals, among others, to hide their assets and capital gains through networks of shell companies.

Another example of a necessary reform is the reporting of the so-called beneficial owner, i.e. the person who ultimately benefits from an asset, which must be done consistently. Generous exceptions must disappear and we need comprehensive reporting obligations and effective sanctions for all wealthy players. Especially in times of Corona, one thing is certain: those who make use of public infrastructure and provisions must contribute their fair share to society.

On the 1st day of the Global Forum, a panel discussion on the topic of tax transparency will take place. It will focus on three questions: What contribution can the exchange of information between authorities make with regard to increasing tax revenues and promoting tax justice? How can this exchange of information be made more effective and efficient? And which actors are needed to successfully implement these reforms? I would like to take this opportunity to jointly discuss concrete proposals for improved tax transparency rules and to outline the next steps towards greater tax justice.

The panel discussion on tax transparency on Wednesday at 12:45 pm will be broadcast live and is open to the public: http://www.oecd.org/tax/transparency/documents/2020-global-forum-plenary-meeting.htm#BROADCAST

I look forward to exciting discussions with Rebecca Lester, Victoria Perry and Robert Ssuuna, moderated by Pascal Saint-Amans. Rebecca Lester is Associate Professor of Accounting at Stanford University, Victoria Perry is Deputy Director of the International Monetary Fund’s Fiscal Affairs Department and Robert Ssuuna is policy lead on tax and the international financial architecture for the Tax Justice Network Africa. Based on data from the OECD, the Tax Justice Network has calculated that governments around the world lose €360 billion in direct tax revenue annually. We must continue to tackle global tax avoidance and tax evasion together and the OECD’s Global Forum is the ideal place to discuss how we can further promote tax transparency.

With confident European greetings,

Sven Giegold

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The agenda for the first day of the OECD Global Forum can be found here:  http://www.oecd.org/tax/transparency/documents/2020-gf-plenary-meeting-day1-agenda.pdf

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PS: Webinar “EU Taxation and the COVID-19 pandemics: will the Portuguese presidency of the EU take up the challenges?” – With and by Ana Gomes (former S&D MEP & Candidate for President of Portugal) and Paul Tang (Chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Tax Matters for S&D). Tuesday, 8.12.2020, 1900 CET. Register right here!