Tax Justice Focus – The Doha Edition

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The first quarter 2008 edition of Tax Justice Focus published by the Tax Justice Network is a special edition focusing on the preparations for the United Nations meeting on Finance for Development in Doha, Qatar, from November 29-December 2, 2008. TJN's press release on this says:

In the editorial, The Road to Doha, we look at six emerging trends which all favour the tax justice agenda, and argue that the next few years present the best opportunity in decades of rolling back the ideology in favour of tax havens, corruption, and abusive tax practices. Powerful vested interests will fiercely resist change, so it is urgent that civil society groups in rich and poor countries now start to get properly involved.

The U.N. Tax Committee has asked PROF. MICHAEL J. MCINTYRE to work up a draft U.N. Code of Conduct to set minimum standards for countries to co-operate on measures to combat capital flight, international tax evasion and abusive tax avoidance. In our lead article Coming Soon - a Code of Conduct on Tax Evasion? Professor McIntyre discusses the historical, political and technical issues.

In their article Capital Flight from Sub-Saharan Africa on page five, L?âONCE NDIKUMANA and JAMES BOYCE at the University of Massachusets, Amherst, describe their new research into the scale of capital flight from 40 countries in Africa. They find the accumulated stock of capital flight, including interest earnings, to be nearly three times the size of these countries' external debt. Africa is consequently a net creditor to the world - but the assets are in private hands, while the external debts are borne by the governments, and through them the African people.

DAVID SPENCER, a New York-based attorney and a senior adviser to TJN, in his article From Monterrey to Doha: an Overview examines the importance of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico, and the preparations for the follow-up conference in Doha this year. He outlines a series of far-reaching recommendations for the future.

In the following feature article entitled Waking the Slumbering Giants, ALEX WILKS explores why so many non-governmental organisations have been slow to engage with the tax justice agenda, and explains why this is now starting to change.

Taxation reform is now fundamental to solving the problems of the developing world, and to ending their dependency on aid. This UN conference could make big progress on this issue. That's why I'd urge you to read this edition of Tax Justice Focus.