Tax Transparency: too little, too late

We are living in a phase of cultural, economic and social transition and uncertainty, where traditional paradigms are vanishing. This change affects, in particular, the State and its sovereignty, which used to be a matter of distinct territories and peoples, set in a framework of international law, with territorially marked borders of power, of the law and also of the economy – a jigsaw puzzle of sorts: a whole big picture set up by little pieces of land. The increasing economic integration has blurred these borders and undermined the pillars of sovereignty and, as a consequence, the role and the contents of public law. Individuals, corporations and capitals can choose the jurisdiction which, legally or not, offers the best regulation and, as far as taxation is concerned, the minimization of the tax burden.

In this framework, the Panama papers scandal has have raised public awareness that international tax evasion and avoidance schemes are not just pursued by multinational companies, but also by wealthy individuals who seek to hide part of their assets from their States of residence.

On the other hand, the Panama papers have shed light on the schizophrenic reaction by the States the erosion of their tax bases. Especially through international organizations (OECD) and international networks (G20), governments have fostered cooperation in tax matters. The basic idea was that, in an integrated world, the system of Double Taxation Conventions needed more tax transparency and (automatic) exchange of tax information between sovereign States. In a second phase, in addition, the same organizations have suggested the refinement of the current rules on the distribution of the taxing powers (BEPS). In this sense, they have explicitly confirmed the basic structure of the current system based on the Double Taxation Conventions and worked on the update of the system to the different economic scenario ...

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