BRICS countries pledge to fight tax evasion

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Xiamen (China), Sep 4 (IANS) The BRICS Summit of five emerging economies on Monday pledged itself to creating a fair and modern global tax system that will address issues like tax evasion by shifting of profits to safe havens and to promote exchange of tax information that will seek to curb the practice.

At its 9th Summit here attended by leaders of the BRICS nations, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the five-nation grouping also decided to support the strengthening of international cooperation against corruption, including through the BRICS Anti-Corruption Working Group. This will also extend to matters related to asset recovery and persons sought for corruption.

The declaration was adopted at the end of the Summit during the plenary of which Modi said India has stepped up the fight against black money and corruption.

“India has found that technology and digital resources are powerful tools in fighting poverty and corruption. Moving forward, using the springboard of our national experiences, BRICS countries can deepen partnership for win-win results,” he said.

The 25-page BRICS Leaders Xiamen Declaration said: “We reaffirm our commitment to achieving a fair and modern global tax system and promoting a more equitable, pro-growth and efficient international tax environment, including to deepening cooperation on addressing Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), promoting exchange of tax information and improving capacity-building in developing countries.

“We will strengthen BRICS tax cooperation to increase BRICS contribution to setting international tax rules and provide, according to each country’s priorities, effective and sustainable technical assistance to other developing countries.”

Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) refers to tax avoidance strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations.

The leaders said that they were keenly aware of the negative impact of corruption on sustainable development and declared their support to efforts to enhance BRICS and anti-corruption cooperation.

“Keenly aware of the negative impact of corruption on sustainable development, we support the efforts to enhance BRICS anti-corruption cooperation. We reaffirm our commitment to intensifying dialogue and experience-sharing and support compiling a compendium on fighting corruption in BRICS countries,” it said.

The declaration said the leaders acknowledge that illegal flow of the proceeds of corruption impairs economic development and financial stability and support enhanced cooperation in asset recovery.

“We acknowledge that corruption including illicit money and financial flows and ill-gotten wealth stashed in foreign jurisdictions is a global challenge which may impact negatively on economic growth and sustainable development. We will strive to coordinate our approach in this regard and encourage a stronger global commitment to prevent and combat corruption on the basis of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and other relevant international legal instruments,” the declaration said.

— IANS

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