08/11/2017 – More than 200 global tax and economic crime experts have identified key areas for international action following the Fifth OECD Forum on Tax and Crime, in London. In a week dominated by media coverage of offshore issues, the Forum brought experts on tax, customs, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, policing, and prosecution together to agree priorities for action.
The Forum is the latest in a series of OECD-led events and an important opportunity for the international community to strengthen collaboration in tackling these global issues.
“Tax evasion is a serious issue”, said Simon York, Director of Fraud Investigation Service at HM Revenue and Customs. “As well as the harm it causes to society we know that it is closely linked to money-laundering, organised crime, corruption and terrorist financing. This Fifth Forum is a central part of how we put in place the co-operation and international responses that are needed to tackle these threats.”
“Financial crimes affect countries around the world” said Grace Perez-Navarro, Deputy Director of the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration. “Criminals operate across international boundaries, constantly trying to find new ways to break the law, and hide their illicit profits. The most effective response is partnership. Partnership between countries, partnership across different parts of government, and partnerships between policy-makers and operational leaders.”
Progress has already been made in important areas. The OECD has worked with its partners to make it harder for people to use trusts, companies and partnerships to hide their wealth by setting a global standard for tax transparency and exchange of information, involving almost 150 jurisdictions around the world. In addition, more than 100 countries have established regular and automatic sharing of bank account and other financial accounts, significantly increasing transparency across the world. More broadly, this Forum brought together a wide range of countries to share best practice to mobilise a ‘whole of government’ response to financial crime, capitalise on the potential of data and technology to uncover fraud, take action against the professional enablers that tax fraud relies upon; and, build capacity to respond to these issues across the world.
The Forum identified five priorities for action:
- Ensure that professional enablers play their part in tackling tax crime.
- Step-up the level of international and cross government cooperation to build a comprehensive and global response to tax crime, drawing on the key report Effective Inter-Agency Co-Operation in Fighting Tax Crimes and Other Financial Crimes, launched at this Forum.
- Learn the lessons from around the world about how best to respond to tax crime by implementing the OECD’s Ten Global Principles, also launched at this Forum.
- Strengthen our ability to collaborate globally and by building capacity to share intelligence and data quickly and securely.
- Build capacity in all countries- including developing countries- to combat financial crimes so that there can be no hiding place for tax criminals.