Remarks by Ángel Gurría
8 June 2019 - Fukuoka
(as prepared for delivery)
Thank you, Vice-Minister Asakawa.
Making a link with my introductory remarks, it is now widely recognised that the G20’s leadership on the international tax agenda over the past decade has produced concrete achievements that are benefitting governments worldwide, which and that the OECD has been very proud to support.
Over the past few years and in anticipation of the start of automatic exchange of information, nothing less than 95 billion EUR in additional tax revenues have been identified by governments!
With the start of automatic exchange of financial account information among 90 jurisdictions in 2018, what took place was nothing less than the biggest tax information exchange in history: 4500 bilateral exchanges which produced information on 47 million accounts! It is worth repeating that the value of the assets that have been subject to exchange of information is more than 4.9 trillion EUR. This means even more tax revenues coming in down the line!
Tax avoidance is also being tackled, with the global implementation of the G20/OECD BEPS Project delivering results. Progress has been achieved since 2016, when the Inclusive Framework on BEPS was first established in Japan, at that time chaired by Vice-Minister Asakawa.
Three years later, great and tangible results have been delivered to close down loopholes in the international corporate tax rules. Information has been exchanged on 21 000 previously secret tax rulings, and 80 countries have introduced obligations for multinationals to fill Country-by-Country reports. Over 250 tax regimes have been reviewed and virtually all of the regimes that were identified as harmful tax practices have been amended or abolished. Harmful tax practices are now dismantled.
Treaty shopping, which deprives countries of billions of euros in revenue, is also coming to an end. The Multilateral Instrument to implement BEPS has been signed by 88 jurisdictions, and at this stage all treaty shopping hubs have signed it, closing important loopholes.
Importantly, the Inclusive Framework is now truly inclusive, with 129 members, around half of which are low income and emerging developing economies, all working on an equal footing in implementing the BEPS agenda, and in the ongoing standard-setting process to ensure international tax systems are adapted to the challenges of today’s economy.
Developing and low capacity economies are also benefiting from these improvements in transparency and the strengthening of international tax rules, and are being supported at every level from legislative reforms, to capacity building, to practical on-the-ground assistance to tax administrations. 90% of countries receiving an OECD capacity development programme are in the process of, or have already enacted, legislative changes to better align with international standards and to address BEPS risks.
Initiatives like Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) build confidence and trust in tax administrations leading to more effective tax regimes to address BEPS, and to increased revenues for governments. For example, one African country increased its tax collection from BEPS- related audits by over 400% from USD 4 million to USD 17 million in two years. TIWB tax audit and other capacity building assistance has resulted in almost half a billion US dollars in increased tax revenues for developing countries. And now, as a spinoff of this effort, South-South cooperation if starting to happen, like the case of Kenya helping Botswana, and other cases.
Monitoring the effective implementation of the standards on tax transparency and on BEPS is a challenge, but is made possible through peer review mechanisms. These evaluations are ongoing, and will ensure the integrity of the standards.
Count on us; we count on you! Thank you!