ICRICT's new paper: A Roadmap for a Global Asset Registry

Measuring and tackling inequality: Curbing tax avoidance, tax evasion, corruption and illicit financial flows.

Wealth inequality poses serious risks to economies, to societies more broadly, and to the functioning of democracies. And yet the actual magnitude of wealth inequality is unknown because of the deep financial secrecy that surrounds it.

The use of ‘offshore’ structures allows not only the real ownership of wealth to remain hidden, but also its location and perhaps its very existence. This same secrecy also creates fertile ground for tax evasion, avoidance, and for financial crimes.

Despite the scale of hidden wealth, however, the existing data-collection infrastructure includes potentially powerful tools for transparency, including the recent adoption of tax transparency measures, such as the automatic, multilateral exchange of bank accounts data at a global level between tax authorities, public registries of beneficial ownerships and exchange between tax authorities of country-by-country reporting from multinational companies.

A global asset registry (GAR) has therefore been proposed to link the existing data and provide missing wealth data.

A GAR would allow wealth inequality to be measured and understood, facilitate well-informed public and policymaker discussions on the desired degree of inequality and support appropriate taxation to reduce the negative consequences of inequality. In addition, a registry would also prove a vital tool against illicit financial flows, by ending impunity for hiding and using the proceeds of crime, and for removing legitimate income and profits from the economy in which they arise for tax purposes.

This paper explains the benefit that a GAR will bring, outlines some of its possible features and the process required in order for the GAR to come to life.

You can download the full report here

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