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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

How Much Do We Really Know about Multinational Tax Avoidance and How Much Is it Really Worth? Comments Welcome!

At the Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa this week, the issue of international cooperation to address ‘tax dodging’ and illicit flows will be higher up the agenda than ever before. Credit for this is due in no small part to the various non-governmental organizations that have built up public consciousness and pressure through sustained campaigns focused on the tax affairs of multinational companies.

Talking about Tax Is Taxing: Pretending It Is Simple Will Hurt the Poor

Here’s an obvious truth: tax lost to trade misinvoicing in Africa does not equal tax lost to transfer mispricing by multinational corporations in Sierra Leone, which does not equal lost health-care spending. Unfortunately, a policy paper released on Tuesday by Oxfam makes exactly these equivalences. This sort of imprecision is widespread, and it’s not going to help the poor.

#Luxleaks: The Reality of Tax ‘Competition’

Aside from lurid revelations about individual companies and the big four accounting firms, the leaks of multinationals’ tax deals with Luxembourg confirm­—and expose to a wider audience­—the true nature of the tax ‘competition’ that prevents the emergence of effective international rules.

Joining the Club: The United States Signs Up for Reciprocal Tax Cooperation

In a breakthrough which escaped almost everybody’s attention, a group of countries have agreed to share information with each other about their residents’ tax and financial information. The exchange will be automatic, electronic and multilateral, and includes countries which are responsible for more than 90% of global financial services exports. Agreement from the US is a major step, or will be if it is ratified and implemented; and the remaining step is to ensure developing countries are fully included.