Business Economy 16 Apr 2016 G20 seeks crackdown ...

G20 seeks crackdown on tax havens, shell companies

Published Apr 16, 2016, 9:12 am IST
Updated Apr 16, 2016, 9:12 am IST
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan (Photo: AP)
 Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan (Photo: AP)

Washington: Acting in the wake of the 'Panama Papers' scandal, the G20 economies, including India, on Friday sought a crackdown on tax heavens, shell companies and terror financing by increasing financial transparency and sharing of key information in a timely manner.

A communique in this regard was issued by G20 countries after meeting of its Finance Ministers and Governors of Central Banks here on the sidelines of the annual Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan attended the meeting on behalf of India. For India a crackdown on tax heavens and shell companies is a top priority, particularly in the aftermath of the release of 'Panama Papers' that have thrown up 500 names of Indians having opened up shell companies overseas allegedly to evade taxes.

"The G20 reiterates the high priority it attaches to financial transparency and effective implementation of the standards on transparency by all, in particular with regard to the beneficial ownership of legal persons and legal arrangements," the G20 communique said.

Improving the transparency of the beneficial ownership of legal persons and legal arrangements is vital to protect the integrity of the international financial system and to prevent misuse of these entities and arrangements for corruption, tax evasion, terror financing and money laundering, the communique said.

In the communique, the G20 Finance Ministers reiterated that it is essential that all countries and jurisdictions fully implement the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards on transparency and beneficial ownership of legal persons and legal arrangements and expressed determination to lead by example in this regard.

"We particularly stress the importance of countries and jurisdictions improving the availability of beneficial ownership information to and its international exchange between, competent authorities for the purposes of tackling tax evasion, terrorist financing and money laundering," the communique said.

"We ask the FATF and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes to make initial proposals by our October meeting on ways to improve the implementation of the international standards on transparency, including on the availability of beneficial ownership information and its international exchange," it said.

Seeking a crackdown on terror financing, the G20 Finance Ministers called on all countries to join its efforts including through swift and effective implementation of FATF standards, the new Consolidated Strategy on Combating Terrorist Financing and provisions of the UN Security Council Resolution 2253.

The UN resolution mainly targets financial network of terror organisations like the al-Qaeda and ISIS. "We ask the FATF, working with the relevant IOs, to strengthen its work on identifying and tackling loopholes and deficiencies that remain in the financial system and ensure that the FATF (financial action task force on money laundering) standards are effective and comprehensive, and fully implemented," the G20 said.

"We call on the FATF-style regional bodies to be vigorous partners," the Finance Ministers said and called on international organisations like IMF and the World Bank Group to support FATF in addressing the evolving challenges by bringing in their own analysis, within their respective areas of expertise, of the sources, techniques and channels of illicit financial flows.

Reaffirming the importance of effective and widespread implementation of the internationally agreed standards on transparency, the communique called on all countries including all financial centres and jurisdictions, which have not committed to implement the standard on automatic exchange of information by 2017 or 2018 to do so without delay and to sign the Multilateral Convention.

"We expect that by the 2017 G20 Summit all countries and jurisdictions will upgrade their Global Forum rating to a satisfactory level," it said. Looking forward to the Global Forum report on transparency and information exchange for tax purposes before the end of the year, the G20 welcomed the collective and continuous efforts by countries and international organisations to build capacity on tax matters for developing economies.  

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi


More From Economy