OECD Updates Plan to Fight Tax Crime

June 23, 2022
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On 10 June 2022, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Council at ministerial level approved the new OECD Council's recommendation on "Ten Global Principles for Fighting Tax Crime," a plan to assist countries in devising or updating their national strategies for combating tax crime. The Committee on Fiscal Affairs (CFA) proposed the recommendation. In addition to all OECD member countries, adherents to the recommendation also include the four non-member countries Argentina, Brazil, Croatia and Romania.

The CFA, through its Task Force on Tax Crimes and Other Crimes (TFTC), has been working on fighting tax crimes for a number of years now. The "Ten Global Principles" were first published in November 2017 and were updated in June 2021 to explore in detail new challenges, such as prosecuting professionals who enable tax and white-collar crimes and fostering international co-operation in the recovery of assets. These principles represent the first comprehensive standard to fighting tax crimes and they provide ten essential principles to efficiently and effectively prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute tax crimes, and to recover the proceeds of those crimes.

The new recommendation embodies the "Ten Global Principles." It recommends that adherents criminalize violations of tax laws, make available appropriate sanctions that apply in practice, devise a strategy for addressing tax crimes and provide tax crime enforcement authorities with adequate powers to detect, investigate and prosecute tax crimes and related financial crimes, and to recover assets linked to those crimes. It further recommends putting in place an organizational structure with clear and defined responsibilities with adequate resourcing as well as effective frameworks for domestic and international co-operation. It encourages making tax crimes a predicate offence for money laundering, and recommends ensuring that the rights of persons subject to criminal tax investigations are protected.

Jurisdictions should benchmark themselves against each of the principles, it said. This includes identifying areas where changes in law or operational aspects are needed, such as increasing the type of investigative or enforcement powers, expanding access to other government-held data, developing or updating the strategy for addressing tax offences, and taking greater efforts to measure impacts.