Remarks by Angel Gurría
15 April 2020
(as prepared for delivery)
The call for a coordinated, sizeable, well-targeted collective response to the crisis is being operationalised in the G20 Action Plan, a living document that we are endorsing today. The OECD is proud to have contributed to its development under Saudi leadership. Count on us to advance its implementation. Besides the financial support, we will need the best policies to address both the crisis and its aftermath - and the OECD can make a contribution.
As part of the Action Plan, and upon the request of Minister Al-Jadaan, the OECD is pleased to deliver the Tax and Fiscal Policy in Response to the Coronavirus Crisis.
We compiled more than 700 tax measures taken by your governments to help businesses stay afloat, support households and preserve employment. The report also provides guidance for this period, on the tax front.
As gradual de-confinement hopefully proceeds, the post-covid19 period provides a historic opportunity to consider bold reforms of the prevailing tax systems. We need more progressive, greener and fairer tax systems. Again, the OECD can help. In developing countries, it is about building effective tax systems and tax administrations.
As stressed by Olaf Scholtz, the digital economy weathers the crisis better than “brick and mortar” businesses. Ensuring a proper taxation of its profits and of potential economic rents has therefore become both a political and a policy imperative. The work on tax challenges arising from digitalization, therefore, continues tirelessly in the Inclusive Framework (139 jurisdictions) to reach a multilateral agreement by year-end. A better distribution of taxing rights on digital activities will prevent a proliferation of unilateral measures, prevent the resulting trade disputes, and provide legal certainty. Moreover, ensuring that companies can no longer take advantage of low taxation in some jurisdictions is of paramount importance for the fairness of the tax system and to recover the public trust.
We should learn the lessons from the crisis, and look at the market and government failures that allowed it to happen. We should build both a health and an economic system that are more resilient and better prepared for the next crisis or the next wave of this crisis.
And let’s never forget that we must do all this while preserving the planet for the generations to come.
Count on the OECD.