A new agreement at the OECD for tax havens
On Saturday 5th July, the Group of 7 (G7) countries of: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and US, agreed in principle a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15%. Later in the month, the G20 group of countries and more than 100 others agreed to the proposals, meaning they are looking increasingly likely to become adopted. This means that tax havens such as Bermuda, Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands would no longer be able to operate so effectively as escape routes for corporate profits. Not only is the USA pushing for a 15% minimum tax rate, but President Biden is also raising the US corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% to fund infrastructure investment.
At Ethical Consumer we welcome these proposals, viewing them as a historic and major win for the cause of tax justice, and which will do much to solve the systematic abuses by tech companies particularly. As we have argued in our Tax Tech Now campaign, the Covid-19 pandemic have made the case for greater state intervention in the economy and the need to fill Treasury coffers to support that. As such, even in their imperfect state, these proposals should be championed.
However, we also support the position of the Tax Justice Network which argues that the 15% global minimum tax rate does not go far enough and that, in its current form, the benefits are not shared out fairly enough between rich and poor nations of the world. It proposes instead a Minimum Effective Tax Rate (METR) which, it claims, would raise $460bn globally, rather than the estimated $275bn in the OECD's approach.
It should be noted that none of this would have been possible without the Covid-19 pandemic and the massive government intervention that arouse because of it. It seems as though the tide is shifting against the laissez faire, neoliberal economic consensus that has dominated the political mainstream for the past 40 years.
We talk more about the OECD's proposals and why we are continuing to demand a windfall tax on tech companies in an additional article.