パナマ文書公表 租税回避地の利用実態解明を

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Panama Papers underscore need for greater scrutiny of tax havens
パナマ文書公表 租税回避地の利用実態解明を

The publication of the Panama Papers can be used as a clue to clarifying the real situation regarding secretive tax havens.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has made public the names of more than 210,000 corporations using tax havens in various parts of the world, along with the names of related individuals. The electronic data was leaked from a law firm in Panama, and was arranged to be listed according to country.

In April, the ICIJ made it clear in the Panama Papers that political leaders from around the world, as well as their relatives, were using tax havens. This time, it proved that companies and wealthy people were widely making use of tax havens.

It is vital to use the disclosure of the lists as a stepping stone to strengthen international cooperation to prevent tax evasion.

With regard to Japan, the list contains the names of about 20 corporations, including general trading companies and telecommunications operators, and about 230 individuals, including the founders of major firms. In many cases, these individuals were listed as shareholders or board members of companies established in tax havens.

A number of companies denied that they were trying to avoid paying taxes. Some repelled the publication of their names was regrettable, as they could lose social credibility.

Indeed, use of a tax haven is not illegal per se.

However, it is a fact that many companies and individuals are trying to reduce their taxes by taking advantage of the nature of tax havens — extremely low tax rates and high anonymity.

International cooperation vital

Even though using tax havens is lawful, public confidence over tax impartiality would be seriously affected if there are loopholes that major companies and affluent people can easily use. Since the publication of the Panama Papers, a more discerning eye has been turned toward tax havens.

Transferring funds to the bank account of a dummy company to intentionally conceal profits could amount to constitute tax evasion. It is reasonable for Finance Minister Taro Aso to say that if there are problematic transactions, the nation’s tax authorities would carry out a tax investigation.

The tax authorities should minutely determine how tax havens are really used. They also must keep an eye out for criminal proceeds and money laundering.

It is difficult for a single country to cope with tax evasion beyond its national borders.

Japan has concluded treaties and agreements with about 100 countries and regions to exchange information on accounts. It is important to make these pacts function effectively and to bring wrongdoing to light.

Last year, the Group of 20 major economies and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development compiled international rules designed to prevent tax evasion via dubious transactions that are far from reality.

At the Ise-Shima summit meeting of the Group of Seven major powers this month, taxation measures are a major item on the agenda. We hope the summit will strengthen international cooperation to that end.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 11, 2016)

by kiyoshimat | 2016-05-13 08:14 | 英字新聞

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