ACCOUNTING WEEKLY

Call for fairer international tax rules

The international development organisation Oxfam is calling for a world tax summit in 2015 to implement and arbitrate fairer international tax rules.

Oxfam is calling for a world tax summit in 2015, which would allow a discussion between all countries, rich and poor, to set the basis for a permanent body to set, implement and arbitrate fairer international tax rules.

Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International’s Executive Director, this week wrote on an Oxfam blog that extreme economic inequality is out of control and getting worse.
“From Ghana to Germany, South Africa to Spain, the gap between rich and poor is rapidly increasing. At the World Economic Forum last year, Oxfam released a statistic which made headlines: Just 85 rich individuals held more wealth than the poorest half of the world’s population – 3.5 billion people. Now, a year later, that figure has become more extreme – just 80 billionaires have the same amount of wealth as the bottom half of the planet.”
Across rich and poor countries alike, this inequality is fueling conflict, corroding democracies, and damaging growth itself, says Byanyima. “Not long ago those who worried about inequality were accused of partaking in the politics of envy. In the last year this concern became officially mainstream as voices from the Pope to Christine Lagarde to President Obama cautioned of its impacts. The mounting consensus: left unchecked, economic inequality will set back the fight against poverty and threaten global stability.”
“In October last year Oxfam launched a global campaign to tackle inequality, Even It Up, in which we pledged to campaign for years to come on a seven-point plan to close the gap between the rich and poor, focusing on measures ranging from public financing for free health and education, to decent work and wages and political participation for all.
“This year, our collective energy must focus first on international tax reform. To make headway on tackling inequality a more ambitious, far-reaching and inclusive process is needed to fix the broken international tax system, to prevent corporations from dodging the taxes they owe and to give governments the resources they need to tackle poverty and inequality. Yesterday’s international tax system is not fit for purpose – let alone fair – today. 2015 must be the year world leaders re-write fragmented global tax rules that reward those who avoid their civic obligation, and leave the poorest to foot the bill.
Byanyima  says she looks forward to a robust and frank discussion in Davos about these issues, which challenge vulnerable communities and powerful businesses alike.
Read the full blog here.

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