I was going to speak on a panel with John Chritensen at the oconference in Vienna, but John was not able to attend . I’ve since met with him for a discussion.
He was very clear what the agenda of the NGOs is :
1. Effective Multilateral Exchange of Information.
2. All sector country by country reporting.
3. Transparent cost benefit analysis of tax incentives by governments (whether developed or developing).
4. Diclosure of beneficial ownership of all “entities” including trusts.
As was discussed at the conference, I think that buisness would be able to live with 1, 3 and 4. 2 requires some definition about what it is and what the purpose of disclosure is?
There is also a clear intention to review the pros and cons of unitary taxation which is interesting given the work the ICC is doing to review the work done in the 1920s on this subject by the ICC in response to the League of Nations. I will write on this shortly.
Finally, I was interested in the enthusiasm for landholding registers as a tool for improving tax compliance in developing countries. I have just finished reading about the efforts of Edward I in this area. Edward reigned from 1272 to 1307 in England and updated the work of the Domesday Book shortly after his accession in what are known as the “Hundred rolls” on documenting the division of rights and ownership rights throughout his kingdom. The purpose of this work was to establish his rights and his subjects rights and thus the rights to income and how they were split. This is a key tool in defining how governments raise revenue and it was considered by the OECD Taskforce on Tax and Development as a key building block in the move from Aid to sustainable income for developing countries. I believe that it is an area of work which should be focused on.