Building accountable taxation

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Attiya Waris of Tax Justice Network is addressing the OECD meeting. She says there are seven key words in tax:

  1. Transparency
  2. Accountability
  3. Responsibility
  4. True
  5. Fair
  6. Efficient
  7. Effective

She says changes tax is changing. In Kenya indirect tax does not create tax awareness, and it can’t work because it is dependent on literacy. This breaks down the link between state and society.

Direct taxes have to create this. This is done by allocating tax to community level so local choice can be made on how to use revenues. This also means accountability rises and transparency and responsibility with it. This is bottom up change.

Now she says it is time for the OECD to deliver a top down delivery of data. But this will not happen or be useful if the IMF and World Bank undermine direct taxation systems by promoting VAT.

She says the MNC claiming it pays tax is OK — but they can’t substitute for local tax relationships to build accountability. They shouldn’t be claiming they’re good people for paying tax — it is their obligation.

And finally she argues for multilateral information exchange to allow bilateral deals to work. Until developing countries have enough data to make bilateral requests the Tax Information Exchange Agreements programme will be stalled in its effectiveness. This is at the core of information exchange issues, as I’ve argued for some time.