The OECD’s Tax Package, released in Paris today, will not stop corporate tax dodgers cheating poor countries out of billions of dollars of tax revenues, says Oxfam. The Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan outlines 15 measures aimed at tackling aggressive tax avoidance by multinational companies.
“Rich governments are all bark and no bite when it comes to corporate tax dodging,” said Claire Godfrey, Oxfam’s global policy lead on inequality. “This package of measures will not prevent another Lux Leaks type scandal and will not stop multinational companies cheating poor countries out of billions of dollars in taxes – money which is desperately needed to tackle poverty and inequality.”
Rich countries and corporate interests have dominated negotiations on the action plan while the majority of developing countries – representing two thirds of the world’s governments - played no formal role. As a result it fails to properly address the needs of poor countries and only goes a small way towards reforming a dysfunctional global tax system that facilitates corporate tax dodging.
For example the package does not legislate for multinational companies to have pay tax where they do real business or to stop the use of tax havens. It will also allow a number of harmful tax regimes, which contributed to the Lux leaks and other well-known scandals, to remain in place until 2021.
“The BEPS process was a false start,” Godfrey said. “The views of some of the world worst corporate tax dodgers are clearly reflected in the action plan. The needs of poor countries were not because most were effectively shut out of the process.”
Oxfam demands the G20 support a new reform process that includes all countries on an equal footing and that urgently tackles the problems that have been ignored or insufficiently addressed by the BEPS process.
“This tax package must mark the start not the end of global tax reform,” said Godfrey. “We need a second generation of reforms that genuinely creates an international tax system which works in the interests of the majority – not the few.”