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News : UK Economy Last Updated: Jun 19, 2013 - 10:04 AM

G-8 leaders agree proposals on tax avoidance and evasion
By Finfacts Team
Jun 19, 2013 - 8:23 AM

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David Cameron, British prime minister, at an end of summit press conference, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, June 18, 2013

The G-8 (Group of Eight - - 7  leading industrialised nations; US, Japan, Germany, UK, France Canada, Italy plus Russia) have agreed on proposals to tackle tax avoidance and evasion that call for new laws to stop businesses from shifting profits across borders, urge greater transparency about company ownership and sharing of information.

The agreement came at the end of a two-day summit meeting at Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, where the issue was one of the main subjects under discussion and will again be at a G-20 (Group of Twenty: 19 leading advanced and emerging countries) summit next month in St Petersburg, Russia, when the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will present proposals for changes in international corporate taxation rules that have been in place for decades.

The G-8 leaders said tax authorities around the world should automatically share information to "fight the scourge of tax evasion."

In addition, multinational companies should tell tax authorities what tax they pay and where they pay it, the agreement states. However, there wasn't support for country-by-country public transparency, which Michel Barnier, EU financial services commissioner, has proposed.

"We've commissioned a new international mechanism that will identify where multinational companies are earning their profits and paying their taxes so we can track and expose those who aren't paying their fair share," David Cameron, British prime minister, said at an end of summit pres conference. "It may not be the catchiest name in the world, but this international tax tool is going to be a real feature of ensuring we get proper tax payment and proper tax justice in our world."

The agreement also calls for the true owners of companies to be named, saying firms should know who really owns them and tax collectors and law enforcers should be able to obtain this information easily. "Some basic company information should be publicly accessible," the communiqué says [pdf].

While all G-8 countries are also set to produce “action plans” on beneficial ownership, Russia, Germany and Japan will not publish them until later this year.

Cameron also failed to get the G-8 leaders to agree that an agreement on automatic exchange of tax information should be open immediately to developing countries.

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