Are all countries ready for automatic information exchange?

Philip MarcoviciSTEP’s Global Congress, coming up in Amsterdam this summer, will be looking into a number of important and controversial issues, not least in the panel session I’m chairing on the second day.

Joining me will be the Rt Hon Clare Short, Chair of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Jeremy Carver CBE of Transparency International and Philip Kerfs, the Head of the International Co-operation Unit of the OECD.

We’ll be discussing whether all countries are ready for automatic information exchange – and many fear they are not. Corruption, misuse of tax information and many more issues are rife in more countries than any governmental organisation is able to admit.

Will automatic information exchange through the CRS (Common Reporting Standard) and other initiatives actually disadvantage those developing countries most in need of tax revenues? Will we see entrepreneurs making a rush for the exit in some countries, even though they are the ones most needed for their domestic economies? Have developed countries pushed their own tax enforcement agendas, without properly considering the economic consequences to those countries most in need?

We’ll be asking if the wealth management industry and legacy financial centres have themselves to blame for where we are. We will though, also be looking for solutions, and it may not be too late to consider and implement alternative approaches to tax compliance.

Should STEP and its members be more concerned about inequality of income and wealth and the consequences of backward-looking attempts to maintain secrecy in and around opaque trust and other structures?

Is the US, as a non-participant in CRS, the only country that is positioned to help – even though it may benefit its own financial services industry in the process? Have wealthy individuals and entities served by STEP members been too silent and self-absorbed, ignoring the needs of those in their communities?

Are professional services firms profiting from the complexity of FATCA and CRS more than the countries that need tax revenues to address urgent needs of those living in poverty? Is it true that tax compliance can overcome global poverty, and if that is true, how can we ensure that this is achieved?

We’ll be discussing real problems and identifying possible solutions. Do join us – it’s not a session to be missed.


Philip Marcovici TEP, Offices of Philip Marcovici, Hong Kong

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