The world has turned strongly against tax evasion and aggressive tax planning. Thanks to ground-breaking international agreements, it is no longer possible to hide assets by simply placing them in offshore accounts or structures. Banking secrecy has been quickly disappearing and cooperation between tax administrations is rapidly improving.
In both advanced and emerging countries, we observe growing dissatisfaction among citizens over what they perceive as the adverse effects of international trade, technological change and immigration on their daily lives.
Tackling BEPS is also about tax morale: Maintaining the integrity of our tax systems—so that citizens are confident that all individuals and businesses are making a contribution and that the tax laws are fairly applied—is essential to ensuring continued trust in and support for our institutions.
Digitalisation is having a profound impact on our societies. It offers many opportunities as a driver of innovation in the private and public sectors. We are already seeing, for example, how our tax administrations are benefiting from these new technologies to enhance services to taxpayers, improve tax compliance and tackle tax evasion and avoidance.
Thank you for the invitation to join you today for this important discussion on international taxation, and in particular, to focus on the remaining tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of our economy.
We are about to make tax treaty history! Before you lies the first ever multilateral instrument capable of amending bilateral tax treaties: the Multilateral Convention on Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent BEPS. Tonight, more than 70 countries have come together to become Parties to the Convention, with more expected to follow in the coming months.
Welcome to the second meeting of the Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) Governing Board. I am pleased to be co-chairing today’s discussion with Mr. Michael O’Neill, UN Assistant Secretary General, and UNDP’s Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy. The OECD is honoured to partner with the UNDP on TIWB.
International tax matters remain an important priority as you work to ensure that the progress made in the last few years is embedded through coherent, global implementation. My report for this meeting provides you with the latest update on the work of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS, which now has over 90 members.
I am delighted to have this opportunity to discuss a topic that goes to the heart of the OECD’s mission, and to the heart of our collaboration with the Slovak Republic: improving tax fairness and tackling tax evasion. This year, both the OECD and the Slovak EU Council Presidency have made an important contribution to making international taxation fair and effective.
I am truly impressed by the large number of countries (99) that have joined this initiative and who are around the table today. More than half are not OECD or G20 members: 55% of this Ad Hoc Group. This in itself is a success, particularly in the context of the new Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) launched a few months ago, and which already includes 87 countries and jurisdictions.