‘Countries must be supported’


There is the need to ensure that the standards set within the international tax arena are not too burdensome on emerging economies.
That’s according to Executive Director of the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators (CATA), Duncan Onduru. Speaking during the opening ceremony of the 37th CATA Technical Conference at the Hilton Hotel earlier this week, he said that while Commonwealth Ministers of Finance recognise the good work that is being done in the international tax arena under the auspices of the G20, there remains a growing call for the Commonwealth to be actively involved in these initiatives, particularly as it relates to transparency and the exchange of tax information.
“Majority of the Commonwealth countries are emerging economies facing structural constraints in a bid to comply with the international standards of transparency. To facilitate better uptake and implementation of some of these standards, these countries need to be supported. There is the need to ensure that the standards are not too onerous on these countries and also that the peer review process is fair and transparent,” Onduru said.
He made the point while noting that within the Caribbean region, there are a number of countries hosting financial centres, and these countries are facing the struggle of implementing some of the standards of transparency. But, he said these standards are important as they help the countries “to shake off the perception of being considered tax havens”, which are used by crooked individuals and multi-national corporations to escape paying taxes. 
The CATA official noted that the countries have demonstrated their willingness to comply, but will require a lot of support from the international community in the form of capacity building and structural reforms.
“The challenge we have now is how the Commonwealth tax administrations can engage actively in this process and influence these international tax debates from a common platform to ensure that the interest of all the members, however diverse, are taken into account,” Onduru said. (JRT)

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