A think tank proposes a global register to fight against tax evasion


A think tank proposes a global register to fight against tax evasion

March 29, 2019

Beyond incantations, how to fight effectively against tax evasion? By creating a global register of financial assets, answers the Independent Commission for the reform of the international taxation of the companies (ICRICT in English) in a report published Tuesday.

The purpose of this project is to ensure that ownership information relates to the ultimate owner of the assets, not to their legal owners (for example, a corporation, a representative or a nominee). "The question of taxation of wealth is gaining momentum in the political agenda and in raising people's awareness," says ICRICT President José Antonio Ocampo. The creation of such a registry "would limit tax evasion, money laundering, insider trading and even the financing of terrorism. It could also radically change the way decision-makers and citizens view inequalities of wealth. "

Utopian? Not so sure. France has just introduced a Gafa tax at the single rate of 3%, the European Commission is preparing to do the same. On Monday in Washington, IMF director Christine Lagarde pointed to "the ease with which multinationals seem to be able to avoid taxes". Admittedly, the challenge ahead is gigantic, but the challenge is to its measure. The economist Gabriel Zucman, a member of ICRICT, estimates the sums concealed in tax havens in the form of deposits, stocks, bonds and other investment funds to 7.600 billion dollars (6,700 billion euros).

Tax havens, "the illusion of volunteering"

As for the private heritage housed in tax havens: "We continue to live in the illusion that we will solve the problem on the basis of volunteering, politely asking tax havens to stop misbehaving," says the economist Thomas Piketty, professor at the EHESS, at the Paris School of Economics and also a member of the think tank.

Thomas Piketty✔@PikettyLeMonde

New @icrict Report: A Roadmap for a global asset registry. An ambitious response to the challenge of rising inequality and global financial opacity. Enfin une réponse ambitieuse à la montée des inégalités et l'opacité financière généralisée.https://www.icrict.com/icrict-documentsa-roadmap-for-global-asset-registry …

01:30 - 26 mars 2019

But, he adds, "the greatest fortunes have continued to grow since 2008 much faster than the size of the economy, in part because they pay less taxes."

Many points to clarify

Here for the report. Still, before creating this global registry, many points remain to be clarified. First, who should carry this project? Given the reluctance of some countries, such as the United States, "the most realistic option could be to start with the European Union, which is at the forefront of transparency measures," the think tank writes.

Then what types of assets will it cover? "Financial assets and real estate should be targeted first, as financial assets account for more than half of the world's wealth and ownership of real estate is often hidden by the use of opaque property structures", states " Echos »José Antonio Ocampo. So many chapter heads for a long program of work.

Jean-Michel Gradt