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.
I am delighted that APEC has made tackling tax avoidance and evasion a priority and pleased to be here with you today to share the latest developments in our work on these issues, which the OECD has been undertaking in partnership with economies across the globe, including a growing number of APEC economies.
For several years now, the OECD has worked closely with you to support the powerful agenda you have set to drive progress in tackling tax evasion and avoidance. While we have made a significant leap forward, setting high international standards and developing state-of-the-art tools to ensure the benefits of transparency can be accessed across the globe, we know that the challenges continue to evolve.
This ratification marks the latest move in Switzerland’s significant efforts of recent years to implement the international standards on tax transparency.
While much has already been accomplished to strengthen tax compliance and enforcement, there is still further progress to be made. And second, we think that greater consideration needs to be given to the role that tax policy can play to foster trade, investment and growth. Now is a good time to look at the aspects of tax policy and administration that may be undermining investment, which remains too weak, not least in Europe.
Restauring trust in governments, ensuring that globalisation benefits all segments of society is a must. As highlighted by many of you, fighting tax evasion and tax avoidance is one way to address the growing concerns of citizens. The G20 has a success story to share: we have taken up the fight against tax havens and we are now moving towards a fairer tax environment.
My report to you for this meeting sets out three objective criteria to identify non-cooperative jurisdictions with respect to tax transparency: the implementation of the Exchange of Information on Request standard, the implementation of the Automatic Exchange of Information standard, and joining the multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (multilateral Convention).
As policy-makers, we know that uncertainty negatively affects investment and consequently, productivity – putting the brakes on growth. It increases the cost of capital by raising the risk premium. Removing that uncertainty can be more important to investors than more obvious, headline issues such as the tax rate.