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ONE calls for Australian government to consider developing countries in their fight against tax evasion

Yesterday (3 June 2015), the Australian government signed up to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s common reporting standard.  The standard provides for the automatic exchange between governments of financial information with a view to increasing transparency and combating tax evasion.

Dr David McNair, ONE’s Director of Transparency and Accountability, said:

“We welcome Australia’s signature to the common reporting standard and commitment to implementing this tax transparency measure.  We urge Australia and other signatories to the standard to go further and commit to sharing this valuable information with developing countries, granting temporary exemptions to those who are not yet able to exchange information in return due to lack of capacity.

“Every year $1 trillion is siphoned out of countries through corrupt activities such as tax evasion.  The losses incurred deny developing countries the funds they need to invest in healthcare, food security and essential infrastructure.

“The ability to access to information on the accounts of residents and citizens held abroad would help tax officials in the poorest countries quickly spot high-risk cases and take steps to recover evaded taxes quickly and efficiently.  This would be a win-win situation for the government, benefiting both Australian citizens and those in the poorest countries, ultimately reducing dependency on aid.”

Notes to editors

·         The Trillion Dollar Scandal:  ONE’s report, released ahead of the 2014 G20, called on G20 leaders to institute automatic exchange of tax information so that developing countries have the information they need to collect taxes they are due.  The report estimates that as many as 3.6 million deaths could be prevented each year in the world’s poorest countries if concrete action is taken to end the secrecy that allows corruption and criminality to thrive.  The full report is available to view and download here.