Time and Location

Tuesday, 17 January 2012, 18:00 – 20:00
Haus der Musik, Seilerstätte 30, 1010 Vienna

Program

Grace Perez-Navarro, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD (Paris)

Dereje Alemayehu, Tax Justice Network Africa (Nairobi)

Michael Lang, Dpt. of Austrian and International Tax Law, Univ. of Economics and Business Administration (Vienna)

Welcome and Chair: Martina Neuwirth, VIDC-Vienna Institute

Languages: German, English (simultaneous translation)

Taxes and H(e)avens

Photo: www.campact.de

Background

What have Greece, Argentina and Nigera in common? They were or are victims of massive tax evasion. Over 50 percent of all illegal transactions are made for tax evasion purposes. These illegal financial transactions constitute a major problem for developing and developed countries alike. Mostly trade mispricing but also capital flight and corruption are the main drivers of these illicit flows. According to a „Global Financial Integrity“ report, approximately 6,5 trillion US dollars were removed from developing countries between 2000 and 2008. This is ten times the amount provided by Official Development Assistance (ODA) resources. African countries lost between 854 billion and 1,8 trillion US dollars in the years between 1970 and 2008. Tax havens or „Secrecy Jurisdictions“, offering very low tax rates, strict banking secrecy and/or the incorporation of shell companies, facilitate capital flight and tax evasion. In this context, critics point at Austria because of its  banking secrecy.
What can be done against tax evasion and how can poorer countries be supported in fighting it? What counter measure were taken internationally, especially at the OECD level, and what are the outcomes? What is done at the EU level? How does Austria act nationally and internationally and what can be done to trace illicit flows?

Panelists


Grace Perez-Navarro

  • Deputy Director of the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration.
  • since 1997 several key positions, including having led the OECD’s work on bank secrecy, tax and e-commerce, harmful tax practices, money laundering and tax crimes, the tax aspects of countering bribery of foreign officials, and strengthening all forms of administrative cooperation between tax authorities
  • before 1997 Special Counsel at the US-Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office of the Associate Chief Counsel (International).
  • seconded by the IRS to the OECD to launch the revision of the OECD’s Transfer Pricing Guidelines in 1993

Dereje Alemayehu

  • MA in Development Studies and PhD in Economics, Free University Berlin
  • expert on illicit financial flows, secrecy jurisdictions as well as governance and taxation
  • Chair of the Tax Justice Network Africa since 2007
  • Country Manager of Christian Aid for East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) since 2002
  • worked as lecturer at the Free University Berlin, development consultant and Country Representative in Burkina Faso for APSO (an Irish development agency) before 2002

Michael Lang

  • Studies of Economics (Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration) and of Law (University of Vienna)
  • since 1994 Professor of Tax Law with a special focus on International Tax Law, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration
  • since 1998 Head of the Department of Austrian and International Tax Law, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration
  • since 2003 Member of the Global Law Faculty at the New York University (NYU) School of Law
  • since 2006 Chairman of the Academic Committee (AC) der European Association of Tax Law Professors (EATLP)
  • since 2008 Head of the Department of Public Law and Tax Law at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration
  • Visiting Professor at universities in Paris, New York, Washington, Beijing, Sao Paulo, Sydney   
  • 1992 - 2000 Authorised Signatory of Exinger GmbH Tax Advising and Auditing Company (BDO, later Deloitte)
  • 2000 - 2004 Partner at Deloitte Austria