De Jong: OECD must not water down its policies on tax evasion

2 October 2013

De Jong: OECD must not water down its policies on tax evasion

At a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which brings together wealthy industrialised countries, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong proposed the establishment of an inter-parliamentary group to keep up the pressure for application of the G20 initiatives to counter tax evasion. The proposal was accepted by the OECD, with the result that such a network will be established in the near future. ‘The OECD does all of the preparatory work for the G20 and is as things stand the place where the struggle against tax evasion is carried out on an international level,’ explains De Jong, adding that this means that ‘it’s important that national MPs as well MEPs are informed about the latest developments and also that they can act as a sounding board for the OECD itself. Otherwise there’s a danger that negotiations between the OECD member states will suffer serious delays. It’s our task, as well as that of the NGOs, to stay on top of matters here.’

Dennis de JongDuring today’s meeting the Action Plan against Tax Evasion recently adopted by the G20 was clarified further. The plan, supported by both the OECD countries and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), aims to put an end to the abuse by multinationals of loopholes in tax law. The plan will be put into place over several years, but in the meantime De Jong doesn’t intend to sit on his hands. ‘During today’s discussions it became clear that governments and major corporations might well state officially that they want to tackle tax evasion, but at the same time they have an interest in ensuring that no watertight agreements are arrived at,’ he says.

Outside of parliaments and of the OECD, pressure must also be brought to bear for an end to tax evasion, adds De Jong. ‘Actions by consumers’ organisations against tax-dodging corporations, such as happened last week in England when activists targeted Starbucks, are essential,’ he argues. ‘Multinationals are scared to death of suffering damage to their reputations and of having to face mass boycotts. The fact that several multinationals stayed away from a recent hearing on the issue in the Dutch national Parliament shows how sensitive the matter is. The OECD has, on my request, promised to enter into consultations with consumer groups over their role in relation to tax evasion. In my view more actions are needed against the firms that practice tax evasion.'

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