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Apr
23

Back Like Always, April’s TaxCast is Here!

Financial Transparency Coalition

TJNlogo

The April 2014 edition of TaxCast has arrived. The monthly podcast produced by our colleagues at the Tax Justice Network is available below.

You can also view it on YouTube here.

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Apr
21

UK government announces how it will end anonymous companies

Robert Palmer

This  post originally appeared on the blog of Global Witness, a London-based organization, and member of the FTC’s Coordinating Committee.

Every so often in campaigning, you experience a rare breakthrough moment where the project gathers steam and people start to listen in a way they haven’t before.

We had one of those moments last summer. My colleagues and I had spent the last five years telling people that anonymous companies facilitate much of the corruption that we campaign to stop. Most people were sympathetic to our cause and surprised by what we told them, but in terms of real, hard change, it’s fair to say our calls fell largely on deaf ears.

In 2013, things changed.

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Apr
18

Africa’s Illicit Flow Problem in Three Charts

EJ Fagan

Every year, more capital is transferred out of Africa than into the continent. This is despite billions of dollars of foreign aid, natural resource exports, and foreign direct investment:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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. 

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Apr
2

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

Christian Freymeyer

EUAfricasummit(notext)This article 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.

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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.

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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.”

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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?”

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Latest Press Releases

TED Prize Winner Charmian Gooch Announces Global Campaign to Abolish Anonymous Companies

Global Witness · March 19, 2014

Vancouver, Canada, March 18, 2014 –This year’s TED Prize winner – Charmian Gooch of Global Witness – has announced that she will use the prestigious million-dollar award “to make it impossible for criminals and corrupt dictators to hide behind anonymous companies.” The announcement was made live and online from the TED stage in Vancouver, with support from leading members of the business, political, law enforcement and campaigning community.

European Parliament Gives Overwhelming ‘yes’ Vote to End Secret Corporate Ownership

Financial Transparency Coalition · March 11, 2014

Joint NGO Media Reaction Financial Transparency Coalition – Eurodad – Global Witness – Transparency International EU Office – Oxfam Brussels, March 11, 2014 – Today, the European Parliament endorsed the creation of public registers of who really owns companies, trusts and other legal structures. This will make it much harder for criminals, tax evaders, corrupt politicians and other money launderers to hide their identity, and their illicitly-acquired assets, behind anonymous companies and trusts.

NGOs welcome MEPs’ vote for ground-breaking changes to fight money laundering

Financial Transparency Coalition · February 20, 2014

Joint NGO media reaction Financial Transparency Coalition – Eurodad - Global Witness - Oxfam A cross political party agreement in the European Parliament ...