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International agencies announce steps for cooperation on tax issues 

Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016,10:43 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Washington | Facing global pressure to act against tax havens following the Panama Papers leak, the top international agencies monitoring the flow of wealth today announced major steps to boost cooperation in cobatting the menace of tax evasion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank Group (WBG) said the steps would formalise regular discussions among them on the design and implementation of standards for global tax matters.

It will also strengthen their capacity-building support, deliver jointly developed guidance, and information-sharing on operational and knowledge activities, a press release said. In wake of the release of Panama Papers and stress on efforts by several countries, including India, to act against tax-havens, such a move comes at a time of great momentum around international tax issues.

It was welcomed by the G20 finance ministers at their February meeting in Shanghai. Amid the growing importance of taxation in the debate to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a major aim of the Platform is to better frame technical advice to developing nations as they seek both more capacity support and greater influence in designing international rules, it said.

Among the Platform’s first tasks will be to deliver a number of ‘toolkits’ designed to help developing countries implement the measures developed under the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project and on other international tax issues.

The first of these tool kits, focusing on tax incentives, was delivered in November. There will be an important link to the new BEPS implementation framework. Platform members will hold regular meetings with representatives of developing countries, regional tax organisations, banks and donors. Consultations with business and civil society will be organised as needed.

The Panama Papers are a set of over 11 million confidential documents detailing information about more than 214,000 offshore companies compiled by Panamanian corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca. The documents illustrate how wealthy individuals, including public officials, hide assets from public scrutiny in tax havens.

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