Following the UN General Assembly resolution 77/244 of 30 Dec 2022 on the “Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations”, the advance unedited version of the Secretary-General’s report was made available yesterday.
After analysing the state of play and global context in which international tax cooperation is evolving, the report presents three possible options for strengthening international tax cooperation, namely:
1) A UN multilateral convention on tax;
2) A UN framework convention on international tax cooperation;
3) A UN framework for international tax cooperation.
In the input Civil Society FfD Mechanism submitted to the Report, it was stated that a UN Framework Convention on tax is needed for the promotion of effective tax cooperation.
“While there is broad recognition of the need for inclusive, universal global tax cooperation, the world still lacks a global framework for such cooperation. Basic decision-making and governance structures are missing, and key elements such as objectives and principles for international tax cooperation have never been clearly spelled out in a globally endorsed instrument. …We believe that the right instrument to provide the global framework for international tax cooperation is a UN Framework Convention on Tax.”
We welcome the Tax Report of the SG as an important contribution to enhance the role of the UN in international tax rule making and standard setting and to facilitate an intergovernmental negotiation at the UN to reform international tax governance and to agree norms and principles underpinning it.
We call upon Member States to agree to robust modalities at the upcoming UN General Assembly so that concrete steps are taken to move forward with the implementation measures for the realisation of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation through a UN framework convention on international tax cooperation.
Luis Moreno, member of the Red de Justicia Fiscal de América Latina y el Caribe (RJFALC) and chair of the Coordination Committee of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ) said: “After years of blockage by powerful countries the longstanding call of developing countries for a UN based solution to problems of international tax cooperation is now gaining momentum. The SG report will give further boost to this process in that it unequivocally states that the solution should be an outcome of an intergovernmental negotiations on an equal footing within the UN. We as CSO strongly welcome the SG report for providing the parameters for this intergovernmental discussion. If an overhaul and democratisation of global tax governance is the ultimate objective of these negotiations, a Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation (Option 2) will be the best way to go forward globally, and mainly in the interest of developing countries.”
Chenai Mukumba, executive director of Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) and member of the Coordination Committee of GATJ said: “We are delighted to see further confirmation of the need to shift the rules of the global tax system from the OECD to the UN. There is a growing recognition that the international financial architecture is no longer fit for purpose and this report reiterates the importance of this conversation as far as the global tax system is concerned. The African Group ought to be lauded for pioneering the way for this historic change.”
Jeannie Manipon, coordinator of Tax and Fiscal Justice Asia (TAFJA) and member of the Coordination Committee of GATJ said: “The opportunity to fix the flaws of the broken international tax system is now before us – it comes at a time when the international community is so hard pressed to find solutions to the multiple crises. The SG report is a promising sign that this process is moving forward under strong and firm leadership. We call on Member States to support this process, consider Option 2 in the SG report, and seize this historic opportunity to democratize global tax governance.”
Dereje Alemayehu, executive coordinator of GATJ said: “A decisive step was taken last year when the UNGA endorsed the Africa Group resolution on international tax cooperation. The SG report is yet another positive step in the right direction. The report leaves no doubt that the UN and an intergovernmental process in the UN is the only space where an equitable and democratic solution to international tax cooperation issues could be sought. We call upon Member States to opt for a lasting solution by considering Option 2 in the SG report.”