Members of the G8 at their 39th summit held in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland on June 17 and 18, 2013 declared that fair taxes, increased transparency and open trade are vital drivers for promoting good governance.
The summit with the theme the ‘three Ts: Trade, Tax and Transparency’ was attended by leaders of the G8 countries: Canada, United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Japan, France, Russia, Italy as well as representatives of the European Union.
According to the G8 declaration, “private enterprise drives growth, reduces poverty, and creates jobs and prosperity for people around the world. Governments have a special responsibility to make proper rules and promote good governance.”
The G8 stated that “Countries should change rules that let companies shift their profits across borders to avoid taxes” and also called for multinationals to “report to tax authorities what tax they pay and where.”
UK chancellor, George Osbourne said concerning the G8 declaration that “hopes are high of moving forward to bring in changes to world tax rules which had allowed rich companies and individuals to avoid paying their fair share”
The 39th G8 Summit endorsed a number of core principles which if translated into concrete steps will create a real difference. They are:
- Tax authorities across the world should automatically share information to fight the scourge of tax evasion.
- Companies should know who really owns them and tax collectors and law enforcers should be able to obtain this information easily.
- Developing countries should have the information and capacity to collect the taxes owed them and other countries have a duty to help them.
- Extractive companies should report payments to all governments and governments should publish income from such companies.
- Minerals should be sourced legitimately, not plundered from conflict zones.
- Land transactions should be transparent, respecting the property rights of local communities.
- Governments should cut wasteful bureaucracy at borders and make it easier and quicker to move goods between developing countries.
- Governments should publish information on laws, budgets, spending, national statistics, elections and government contracts in a way that is easy to read and re-use, so that citizens can hold them to account.
The members agreed that if the steps are adhered to, they will surely guarantee transparency in governance, stop tax evasion, adequately curb the act of money laundering and make governments more accountable to the people they serve.