OECD chief expects Panama cooperation to prevent tax avoidance
The chief of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Monday that the Panamanian government is expected to cooperate in international efforts to prevent tax avoidance after the revelation of the so-called Panama Papers.
OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said in a press conference in Tokyo that the vice president of Panama, Isabel de Saint Malo, told him last week her government “is willing to cooperate fully with the OECD.”
Though Panama has not joined the initiative to have participating countries exchange information on financial accounts, “My expectation is that this very unfortunate event may trigger a reaction by the government of Panama to fully join the rest of the world in this exercise about transparency,” Gurria said.
The issue of tax avoidance has taken center stage as leaked internal files from a Panama-based law firm that specializes in setting up shell companies point to wealthy clients hiding assets through offshore tax havens.
The Paris-based organization plans to convene a special meeting on Wednesday to explore the possibilities of cooperation and information-sharing.
The Panama Papers revelation came as the OECD has taken the initiative to allow nearly 100 countries and regions to exchange non-resident financial account information with the tax authorities in the account holders’ country of residence, starting next year.
“I think this event will help us to understand that the move towards transparency is not going to stop, that there is no reverse,” Gurria said.
The OECD is also working out how to impose tougher international tax rules to prevent corporate tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.