World economies unite against tax fraud at Moscow forum

17th May 2013, Comments 0 comments

Tax administrators from 45 countries urged their governments on Friday to combat tax fraud and avoidance by boosting coordination and transparency, vowing to find tax evaders anywhere they might hide.

Meeting for a summit in Moscow, heads of tax administrations from 45 members of the Forum on Tax Administration (FTA) reaffirmed their commitment to fight together against tax crimes and develop a system for automatic exchange of information.

"The message to tax evaders and those who facilitate tax evasion is simple: however hard you try to hide, we will find you," said the final communique of the summit, organised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

"The key message from a gathering like this... is that together we are much stronger than apart," said FTA chairwoman Josephine Feehily in a press conference.

Head of the OECD's tax centre Pascal Saint-Amans said the organisation was developing standards for automatic exchange of bank information, to be proposed at the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg in September.

"Then we will develop the technical elements, the platform for the exchange of information," he said.

The OECD in a recent report said that tax standards have not kept up with changes in global business practices in the current Internet age, which has led to corporations using techniques known as "base erosion" and "profit shifting" -- moving profits to jurisdictions with lower taxes.

Last week, the United States, Britain and Australia announced an extensive international investigation after receiving thousands of computer files on secret accounts in tax havens.

These three countries "will use these data to share useful information for other members" of the Forum, the OECD's statement said.

© 2013 AFP

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