Tax Justice Focus

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The new edition of Tax Justice Focus is out. As TJN says:

This is a special edition of Tax Justice Focus looking at the tumultuous events of the last year, and looking forward to next steps in a fast-changing world and a deepening global economic crisis. It is edited by Nicholas Shaxson and John Christensen.

In the editorial on page four, What a Year, we look at the remarkable changes that have occurred in 2008, as our agenda has spread rapidly into new constituencies. partly motivated by a mobilisation ahead of the Doha conference on Financing for Development, alongside a growing awakening on our issues in the context of the global economic crisis. It looks at some of our projects for the year ahead.

In our lead article Tax and Development Jeffrey Owens, head of tax at the OECD, looks at why tax, long neglected in the development debates, is so important. He explores the constraints developing countries face with respect to tax, and offers pointers to non-governmental and other actors. New efforts are needed, he argues, to develop an internationally accepted methodology for measuring aspects of the problem.

In our second feature article The Plato Index: Measuring Tax Justice, on page six, Professor Edmund Valpy Fitzgerald and John Roche lament the lack of good data on tax for developing countries, and explain their revolutionary work (in partnership with TJN) in developing a new tax data base and a new index to measure and compare tax justice, across and between countries. We hope that this index will eventually be included in the new United Nations Development indicators.

John Christensen follows this up with his long feature article on page eight, Doha: A cup half full? which follows our special Doha edition last April. Examining the moderate progress recorded at the conference on financing for development at Doha, Qatar from November 29-December 2. He concludes that we came away with a feeling that tax matters have moved from the periphery to the core of the development debate, and we know we have played a part in this.

Well worth a read.