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Apr
16

As More People Watch the Money Flowing Into Africa, We Need to Keep Eye On What’s Flowing Out

Christian Freymeyer

Earlier this month, Nigeria leapt past South Africa to emerge as Africa’s largest economy. The financial world has watched the shift intently, with a keen interest on the amount of money coming into Nigeria. But keeping an eye on the huge sums of money flowing out is just as important.

Apr
14

Happy Tax Day (U.S. Taxes by the Numbers)

Ann Hollingshead

If you’re anything like me, you may have spent an hour waiting in line at the U.S. post office yesterday. I realize I’m a blogger, and a graduate student, and in my twenties — and all of these factors made me rather unlike the typical pen-and-paper-tax-filer — but there’s just something so satisfying about addressing an envelope (and sometimes a check) to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Apr
10

Incorporation Standards in Banking: A Race to the Bottom

Ann Hollingshead

Sometimes—even usually—competition is a good thing. It lowers market prices; it sent a man to the moon; and it’s responsible for thousands of Olympic medals. In many cases, competitions–or races–are responsible for innovation, efficiency, and better performance. In these cases, an individual actor’s pursuit of victory leads to the betterment of society, a market, or a generation of athletes. However, sometimes competitions—or races—instead lead to worse outcomes for society. Often called a “race to the bottom,” these kinds of competitions include, for example, international degradations of environmental and labor standards.

This kind of race also happens in U.S. banking, where individual states’ pursuits of bank deposits have led to a degradation of bank security for the entire nation.

Apr
4

When You Want Secrecy, All You Need is a Shell Company

Christian Freymeyer

Thanks to an AP report that came out yesterday, we now know of yet another reason shell companies are used to keep information in the shadows, but this one involves a U.S. government agency and a “Cuban Twitter”.

News
Apr
3

FTC Submits Letter to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bankers

Financial Transparency Coalition

While leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) countries won’t convene in Brisbane until November, meetings surrounding the agenda of the G20 are ongoing in the months leading up to the summit. From April 10th to the 11th, finance ministers and central bankers from G20 countries will meet in Washington, D.C. to discuss the G20′s stance on a number of different monetary and financial policies.

Apr
2

Illicit Financial Flows: The Elephant in the Room at the EU-Africa Summit

Christian Freymeyer

EUAfricasummit(notext)This piece originally appeared on the websites of EurActiv and The Africa Report

$35 million mansion in California, artwork totaling €18 million, and a $38 million dollar private jet.

These sound like items purchased by the world’s wealthiest oligarchs, right?

Well, they were actually acquired by Teodorin Obiang, son of President Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea. When his father convenes with other leaders for this week’s EU-Africa summit, a wide range of topics will be covered. But there’s one issue in particular that should be given a loudspeaker during the talks in Brussels: illicit financial flows.

Apr
1

FTC Newsletter January – March 2014 Newsletter

Financial Transparency Coalition

After a year-long hiatus, the Financial Transparency Coalition’s newsletter is back! In our newsletter you will find updates on our organization, policy work, press, resources, and upcoming events.

To read the January – March 2014 edition, click here.

Mar
31

Ending Corporate Tax Loopholes

Ann Hollingshead

Tax expenditures—government spending through the tax code, also called loopholes—have increased dramatically in the last twenty years. In some ways tax expenditures are good; for example, they can be used as incentives to encourage corporate and private behavior that provides a social benefit. On the other hand, these expenditures both lower government revenue and can skew the horizontal and vertical equity of our tax system. For example, corporate loopholes can result in dramatically different effective corporate rates for nearly identical companies.

These loopholes have dramatic effects on effective tax rates. While the United States has a statutory tax rate of 35% (the second highest among developed nations) corporations in this country pay an effective tax rate of just 12.6%. Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, has responded to these statistics with this: “An individual’s or corporation’s tax rate shouldn’t be dependent on their ability to hire a tax lobbyist. It’s especially wrong to ask families who are struggling to make ends meet to subsidize special breaks for corporations.”

Mar
28

Post-2015 Development Agenda: Moving to Self-Sufficient, Sustainable Development

Ann Hollingshead

For fifteen years, eight goals have represented the yardstick by which development is measured. These are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in the United Nations Millennium Declaration at the beginning of the century, and represent a commitment to a noble new partnership to drastically reduce poverty worldwide. It is through this Declaration that all 193 member states of the United Nations and 23 organizations have agreed to achieve a set of eight goals by 2015.[1]

Now that we are rounding into the last year of the Declaration, the UN and other aid organizations are developing the post-2015 Development Agenda and asking the important question: “So now what?”

News
Mar
28

Is global governance of finance fit for purpose?

Markus Meinzer

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This post originally appeared on the blog of FTC member, Tax Justice Network.

Last year, our colleagues at New Rules for Global Finance published a ground-breaking report on the governance and accountability of the leading financial rule-setting institutions, including those covering international tax cooperation, such as the G20, the OECD, the UN Tax Committee, and the IMF.  Their report is available here.

Mar
27

The C20 Wants to Hear Your Voice!

Christian Freymeyer

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The months leading up to November’s G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia are littered with conferences and gatherings to develop a more narrow focus of what priorities the Group of 20 wants to highlight. You can easily have a say, through the C20, a civil society platform that contributes to the G20 discussion. But be quick! The commenting period for the ongoing C20 dialogue closes on April 6th.

News
Mar
21

TaxCast March 2014 Has Arrived!

Financial Transparency Coalition

TJNlogoNo need to worry, the 27th edition of TaxCast is here! The ever-interesting podcast produced by our colleagues at the Tax Justice Network can be viewed in the embedded video below.

You can also view it on YouTube here.

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