Tue | Sep 19, 2017

300 economists urge leaders to reject tax havens

Published:Tuesday | May 10, 2016 | 5:00 AM

LONDON, (AP):

Hundreds of economists urged world leaders yesterday to end the era of tax havens, arguing that they only benefit rich individuals and multinational corporations and serve to increase inequality.

The 300 economists, in a letter coordinated by activist group Oxfam, said poorer countries are hit hardest by tax dodging. The signatories , including Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University's Earth Institute and author Thomas Piketty, argue that there is no economic justification for tax havens and urge leaders to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding them.

"As the Panama Papers and other recent exposÈs have revealed, the secrecy provided by tax havens fuels corruption and undermines countries' ability to collect their fair share of taxes," the letter said. "While all countries are hit by tax dodging, poor countries are proportionately the biggest losers, missing out on at least $170 (billion) of taxes annually as a result."

The letter comes days before an anti-corruption summit in London, featuring politicians from 40 countries, as well as representatives from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Economists from Harvard, Oxford and the London School of Economics were among the signatories.