The news that Australia is one of 31 countries to sign an agreement in Paris to confidentially share tax information on multinational companies is only a baby step towards greater tax transparency, Oxfam Australia said today.
Oxfam Australia’s Finance for Development Manager Joy Kyriacou said much more needed to be done to create a more just tax system.
“This needs to start with making the information public,” Ms Kyriacou said.
Just last week, Oxfam revealed the shocking statistic that just 62 people hold the same wealth as the world’s poorest 3.6 billion people.
“Changing the rules that allow large companies and individuals to hide money and evade tax in the countries where they make profits is key to overcoming this imbalance,” Ms Kyriacou said.
“Poor countries lose at least US $100 billion annually due to tax avoidance and evasion. That is money that should be going towards schools, hospitals and other essential infrastructure needed in the poorest countries in the world.
“But this new agreement falls short of including the poorest countries. Only one of the 31 signatories to join this agreement is classed as a lower middle income nation, and none are among the world’s poorest.
“We need changes to the global tax system that ensure everyone benefits – including people in the poorest countries.“Financial secrecy is at the heart of the vastly unequal world in which we live today. European banks are already providing financial information on a country-by-country basis, so there’s no reason why the same cannot be added to this agreement.
It is time for tax information, on a country-by-country basis, to be made public.“The agreement also only applies to companies with annual global revenue of $1 billion or more. For many companies, this loophole means they will avoid the changes altogether.”
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