Tax features at the Commonwealth Finance Ministers Annual Meeting


Executive Director (3rd from right-back row) poses for a group photo with the Ministers)

(Picture courtesy of the Commonwealth website)

The Commonwealth Finance Ministers once again added their voices to the importance of exchange of tax information among member countries as a way of protecting their tax bases and ensuring that effective mobilization of domestic revenue remains firmly on the international agenda.

The representative of the United Kingdom took the participants through the on-going project on “beneficial ownership” which his country is spearheading and pointed out that this initiative will contribute immensely in tackling not only tax crimes but also assist law enforcement agencies in addressing issues around illicit financial flows, money laundering and financing of terrorism. He urged member countries to join this noble venture that will see countries exchanging vital information on the true identities of persons behind business entities.

On his part, the Finance Minister of Barbados called for greater involvement of developing countries in the formulation of tax transparency standards and more importantly in finding ways of assisting countries who are willing to comply with some of these standards but are facing certain challenges. The Minister reiterated the need for honesty and impartiality when conducting peer reviews to monitor compliance with these standards.

Contributing to the discussion, the Finance Minister of Ghana, underscored the importance of leveraging organizations such as CATA to help build capacity of tax administrations in the light of rapid developments currently taking place in the tax landscape. 

The meeting that took place at the IMF Headquarters in Washington DC was officially opened by The Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland and chaired by the Finance Minister of India. CATA was represented by the Executive Director Duncan Onduru.

Gerry Cook