IMF, World Bank to form group to fight tax evasion

WASHINGTON • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank said they are joining forces with other international organisations to cooperate on tax issues and develop new tools and standards to halt tax base erosion and evasion.

The new grouping, which will also include the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), will focus particularly on building effective tax systems in developing economies, the partners said on Tuesday.

The effort was announced just weeks after the release of the so-called Panama Papers stirred outrage at the widespread use of tax haven countries and shell companies by wealthy global elites and corporations to hide assets and avoid paying taxes.

Global finance leaders at the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington last week pledged to crack down on tax evasion and base erosion, as well as to fight the exploitation of tax law mismatches and boost the sharing of tax information.

They also pledged to penalise countries that fail to cooperate in these efforts by implementing "defensive measures". "This effort comes at a time of great momentum around international tax issues," the group said in a statement.

Among the new group's goals is to develop appropriate policies for the taxation of multinational enterprises. It aims to provide "toolkits" to help developing countries implement measures developed under a previous G-20/OECD tax effort known as the "Base erosion and profit shifting" project.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2016, with the headline 'IMF, World Bank to form group to fight tax evasion'. Print Edition | Subscribe