Here’s what EURODAD -the European Network on Debt and Development – believes should feature on the list of New Year’s Resolutions for both developed and developing countries to remove the veil of ‘secrecy’ that shrouds the true (or beneficial) ownership of companies and other structures like trusts and foundations which, when abused by tax evaders, is not only a precursor to money laundering but is the root of persistent underdevelopment and the loss of trillions in tax revenue:
1. Online publication of all legal structure ownership and control records; and made available without charge.
2. Registration of all legal structures and their beneficial ownership information including trusts and foundations which should be required to register in any country where there is a bank account in the name of the arrangement with the names of fiduciaries and settlors also made available.
3. Publication of accounts of legal structures such as trusts and foundations in each country where they have a fiduciary bank account.
4. Introduction of a ‘substance’ requirement so that companies with no meaningful staff in a country should be made to close.
5. Disclosure by companies of all trading addresses.
6. Compulsory collection by nominees of beneficial ownership details in the absence of public registries.
7. Prohibition of corporate company officers.
8. Making both foreign and domestic tax crimes predicate offences of money laundering.
9. Re-framing of tax crimes to recognise all deliberate attempts by a taxpayer to pay less than their legal obligations.
10. Active detection by jurisdictions of the proceeds of foreign crimes, including the spontaneous sharing of information and cooperation with requests for assistance.
EURODAD is a network of 50 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from 19 European countries working on issues related to tax justice, debt, development finance and poverty reduction.
In addition to the funding provided by its members by its members and by private foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, EURODAD is supported by the European Commission.
EURODAD’s full suggested ‘to-do-list’ and the rationale that informs its content is set out in a comprehensive 2013 report titled:
Secret Structures, Hidden Crimes:Urgent steps to address hidden ownership, money laundering and tax evasion from developing countries.
You can find it here: