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Tax lost offshore could end world poverty, says Oxfam

May 23

Written by:
23/05/2013 13:40  RssIcon

The lost £99 billion could end extreme poverty twice over

Governments are losing more than £99bn a year in revenue, says Oxfam, enough to eliminate extreme poverty across the globe twice over.

According to Oxfam's estimates, almost $18.5tn is being held for individuals in tax havens, one third of it in British Overseas Territories and crown dependencies.

The charity said that even on conservative assumptions, the $18.5tn would yield $156bn to tax authorities around the world, whilst the cost of providing every person on earth with an income of $1.25 a day would be $66bn.

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Emma Seery, Oxfam's Head of Development Finance and Public Services, said: "David Cameron and [Chancellor] George Osborne continue to tour the world making promises to clamp down on tax havens, but so far they've done absolutely nothing to make tax deals work for poor countries.

"The UK and Europe cannot stand by and watch more people fall victim to the bite of austerity while billions are lost from the public purse on their watch.

"Unless the EU agrees a tax havens black list and clear sanctions, we'll get little more than hot air from leaders."

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Meanwhile, an ActionAid report released today (23rd May) reveals that almost half of all money invested in developing countries is channelled through tax havens.

The report, How Tax Havens Plunder the Poor, shows how tax havens can often allow companies and investors to avoid tax on the resulting profits and gains and deprive the world’s poorest countries of much-needed tax revenue.

The research also shows that foreign investments into developing countries are more likely to be routed through a tax haven than investments into developed countries.

In one case a single - entirely legal - transaction through UK-linked tax havens would have provided $2.2 billion in tax if it had not taken place offshore, according to the Indian government. This is almost enough money to provide every Indian primary school child with a subsidised midday meal for an entire year.

The OECD estimates that developing countries are losing three times more money to tax havens than they currently receive in aid each year.

ActionAid is now calling on the Government and G8 leaders to put their words into action and mark the end of tax havens by ensuring tax havens share tax information will the poorest countries, and that the real ownership of all companies and trusts are placed on public record.



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