In a statement released today, the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad) said Tax Justice Network was launching the campaign, Tackle Tax Havens, to “highlight the critical role that [tax havens] play in corrupting the global economy”.
A website has been launched to help promote the new campaign, and may be viewed here.
Eurodad is a Brussels-based network of 54 non-governmental organisations from 19 countries that share a common interest in issues relating to debt, development finance and poverty reduction, according to its website. Its members in the UK include such organisations as Christian Aid, Jubilee Debt Campaign, Oxfam and Save the Children but not Tax Justice Network.
The statement released today cited new research from the Tax Justice Network (TJN) that it said shows tax evasion “costs 145 countries, representing over 98% of world GDP, more than $3.1trn annually”.
“In the UK…a staggering £69.9bn a year is lost to tax evasion in the ‘shadow economy’ – that is, 56% of the country’s total healthcare spend,” the statement added.
According to TJN, three conditions must be met in order to resolve the problem of tax havens:
- all jurisdictions considered to be tax havens must put details of the ownership of all companies and trusts located in them, and the accounts of those organisations, on public record;
- all multinational companies should publish accounts that reveal their use of tax havens; and
- all tax havens should be required to exchange information each year on the income gains recorded in their financial institutions that belongs to citizens of other countries with the tax authorities in the countries in which those individuals actually reside.
Issue rising up the agenda
The Tax Justice Network anti-tax haven campaign comes as the issue of tax collection is "rising fast up the political and social agenda, as countries across the world make deep cuts in public spending and increase taxes in ways that hurt the poor and the middle classes the most”, the statement noted.
Richard Murphy, a well-known figure in the anti-tax haven world and who did the research for the Tax Justice Network on behalf of his organisation, Norfolk, England-based Tax Research LLP, said data from the World Bank published last year on the size of countries’ shadow economies had helped his organisation to prepare its estimate of the sums being lost.
"The findings add a new policy agenda to public debate on the world’s financial crisis," he added.
"For example, Italy loses €183bn to tax evasion a year. Its current debt of €1.9trn represents just over 10 years tax of tax evasion on this basis. If only more had been done to tackle rampant tax evasion, Europe would not be facing a crisis today.”
Murphy’s report may be viewed here.