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EXCLUSIVE: Why tax justice campaigners and the OECD are not seeing eye to eye

14 March 2012

Salman Shaheen - ITR

A report from the Tax Justice Network (TJN) has piled criticism on the OECD’s methods of tackling tax haven secrecy. It has drawn the ire of the organisation’s head of tax, Pascal Saint-Amans, and deepened a growing divide between the two camps on how best to stamp out avoidance.

The OECD launched the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes to promote cooperation and information exchange between tax authorities around the world. With 108 countries involved, it has expanded far beyond its OECD origins and its peer review process, assessing the effectiveness of tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs), is seen as the world’s most prominent effort to tackle financial secrecy and tax avoidance.

The arguments put forward by the TJN in their report, entitled Creeping Futility of the Global Forum’s Peer Reviews, however, seeks to challenge the OECD’s dominance over international standards on tax transparency.

While the TJN praise the forum’s work for highlighting "rampant and notorious tax haven abuse", implementing some legal changes, giving tax investigators better access to evidence of known cases, increasing the accuracy of information from what was previously available and providing new information about sanctions and enforcement...

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