Tax announcement ‘only a baby step’

Recent global agreements between 31 countries to confidentially share tax information have been blasted by Oxfam Australia as “only a baby step towards greater tax transparency”.

Joy Kyriacou, Oxfam Australia’s finance for development manager, stated that much more needed to be done in order to create a more just tax system and that confidentially disclosing the tax information on multinational companies served as an inadequate measure of reform.

“This needs to start with making the information public,” Ms Kyriacou said.

The latest agreement “falls short” of including poorer countries and their respective economies, she said.

“Only one of the 31 signatories to join this agreement is classed as a lower-middle-income nation, and none are among the world’s poorest.”

“We need changes to the global tax system that ensure everyone benefits – including people in the poorest countries,” she added.

Ms Kyriacou went so far as to deem “financial secrecy” at the heart of “the vastly unequal world in which we live today”, noting that many companies will avoid the changes altogether since they do not meet the global revenue requirements of $1 billion.

“European banks are already providing financial information on a country-by-country basis, so there’s no reason why the same cannot be added to this agreement. It is time for tax information, on a country-by-country basis, to be made public,” she said.

 

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