Oxfam GB Calls For ‘Global Minimum Tax Rate’

November 18, 2018 | 8 Comments

Oxfam — which describes itself as an international confederation working to fight poverty and injustice — has called for the United Kingdom Government to “work with” the Overseas Territories by “implementing a global minimum effective tax rate.”

This came as Oxfam GB submitted written evidence for the British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry in to the ‘Future of the UK Overseas Territories’.

The organisation, which has been a critic of Bermuda and other jurisdictions, takes the position that “tax havens are leading a global race to the bottom on corporate tax that is starving countries out of billions of dollars needed to tackle poverty and inequality.”

They have called for all governments to “stop unfair and unproductive tax incentives and work together to set corporate tax at a level,” in effect asking lower tax jurisdictions to raise taxes.

Oxfam’s 2016 report in which they alleged that Bermuda was one of the world’s “worst corporate tax havens,” was branded as inaccurate and misleading by both the island’s political parties, with the then Finance Minister saying they “made substantial errors in its claims.”

In addition to calling for the “global minimum effective tax rate,” the organisation also suggested the “UK government signals its clear intent to enforce the recent amendment to the Sanctions and Anti Money Laundering Act to require implementation of public registers of beneficial ownership in the OTs.”

The legislation passed by the British Parliament which would allow the UK to order Overseas Territories to make their beneficial ownership registers publicly accessible was not well received by the governments of the OTs, with the island’s leaders accusing the UK of colonialism.

The submission by Oxfam UK to the Committee said, “The governance of the Overseas Territories [OTs] will be improved if those OTs that are seen as tax havens make significant changes to their tax policies and practices.

“The UK government has an important role to play in supporting the OTs’ transition to diversify their economies to no longer be reliant upon selling financial secrecy.

“Where the UK government and OTs disagree on issues of financial governance, the UK government should ensure that international standards and commitments the UK government has made are matched in the OTs. Whilst the UK government retains ultimate control over the OTs it should ensure that the OTs have equivalent standards on tax transparency and tax policies, as in other aspects of governance.

“Oxfam recommends that: the UK government signals its clear intent to enforce the recent amendment to the Sanctions and Anti Money Laundering Act to require implementation of public registers of beneficial ownership in the OTs in the absence of voluntary action.

“The UK government should work with the OTs and allies to help end the global race to the bottom on corporate tax rates and policies, by implementing a global minimum effective tax rate, and pressing for a new round of substantive international tax reforms.”

The full written evidence from the Oxfam GB follows below [PDF here]:

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  1. 2 Bermudas says:

    No taxation without representation!!

  2. Kathy says:

    1. Until the UK (and the USA, for that matter) forces all its private companies to open their records publicly, Bermuda will not become an OT guinea pig! Currently, this is what is written on the Company registers website in the UK:

    “From 30 June 2016, a private company can choose to send information usually kept in all or any certain statutory registers to the registrar of companies to be kept on the public register at Companies House. This choice, for private companies only, is an alternative to the obligation to keep those statutory registers at its registered office or a single alternative inspection address.

    If your company chooses to keep the information on the public register at Companies House, rather than in its own statutory registers, this information becomes part of the public register. The public register is open for anyone to inspect and take copies of information.”

    It is optional!!! So, why should we, an OT be FORCED to open our private company registers…for non-profits like OXFAM GB to go looking for ways to solicit money from some of our wealthiest investors?

    2. OXFAM GB suggesting that countries around the world change their tax structure because they are an OT and need to conform to UK standards is ludicrous. The fact that they state that “The governance of the Overseas Territories [OTs] will be improved if those OTs that are seen as tax havens make significant changes to their tax policies and practices.” shows everyone in Bermuda that OXFAM GB doesn’t know its head from its ass.

    If the UK were to come in and force BDA to have a minimum tax, I can tell you I know very well where the people of BDA would tell the UK to go! What a load of bollocks!

    Should we remind OXFAM GB that we receive no financial benefit from the UK and really, therefore, are continually on the edge as to whether we will continue to remain a dependent territory in the future. We run our Country the way we want to run it and you keep your noses in your own Country!

  3. Walter says:

    Well said.

  4. Go says:

    Time to go independent and to hell with these morons who are trying to solve world poverty! Taxing OTs ain’t gonna make any difference to these other countries whose politicians steal billions from its own citizens! Look at yourselves first!

  5. Ringmaster says:

    More importantly any organisation that is involved in charity work should be required to show at least 90% of their revenues go towards the people they say they are supporting. Oxfam is among the worst and it is probably reversed so that 90% are paid to Oxfam employees. I’d never support Oxfam for that reason.

  6. Question says:

    To be fair, Oxfam loves it when more get into poverty. It keeps them in business. So Oxfam loves promoting higher tax rates.

  7. Ride says:

    So many inaccuracies in this letter.

    1) By the EU criteria Bermuda is more compliant than some of its member states (if it applied it to them) and some of the states of the USA to name a few. The EU would need to blacklist some of its own members and a few US states before it could blacklist Bermuda.

    2) Bermuda is not a tax-haven as multiple assessments by several independent
    international governing organisations have attested.

    3) There is no EU `grey list`. This is a term invented by the media and organisations like Oxfam. A country is either blacklisted or it is not.

    4) Oxfam cites it own `research` that was deemed as too elementary by several independent international governing organisations. Also note that even its own research list a few EU members as less compliant than Bermuda.

    5) Bermuda has a beneficial ownership register; the oldest in record. I believe not even the UK (who has some jurisdictional oversight) has such a complete register with a similar length of history.

    6) Bermuda’s beneficial ownership register is available to government organisations who have an information exchange agreement with Bermuda. Bermuda has perhaps the largest set of such agreements; EU members are included.

    There are even more points. Oxfam is seeking to stay in the news to keep the donations coming so it keeps pushing what the news wants to print. It doesn’t care if it is completely incorrect. It also wants to draw attention away from its sexual exploitation scandal.

  8. mumbojumbo says:

    Honestly…I see no real reason for you lot to pay taxes too us…vut if you insist I am sure I can find something to spend it apon.

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