Indias tax administration does not always play by the rules.Why has Switzerland fallen in line? Because events after the financial crisis have changed peoples mindsets. PASCAL SAINT-AMANS, DIRECTOR, CENTRE FOR TAX POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION AT OECD IN PARISIndias tax administration does not always play by the rules.
Pascal Saint-Amans is Director of the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration at the Organisation for Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. A French national, Saint-Amans joined the OECD in September 2007 and was responsible for the organisations work on harmful tax practices, money-laundering and tax crimes. He also looked into the tax aspects of countering bribery of foreign officials and administrative cooperation between tax authorities.
He played a key role in the advancement of the OECD tax transparency agenda in the context of the G20. In October 2009 he was appointed head of the Global Forum Division, created to service the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, a programme with the participation of over 100 countries.
Saint-Amans was recently in India to meet counterparts from Indias Revenue Department. Excerpts from an exclusive interview given in Paris.
What are the OECD and G20s joint principal actions to root out tax fraud, tax havens and profit shifting companies not paying tax in the countries where their business is conducted or individuals parking illicit gains outside?
The OECD has three principal threads of action based on the mandate received from the G20. One is fighting profit shifting, known by its acronym BEPS.
The second is improving transparency through better information exchange on request and the third is promoting domestic resource mobilisation by which we mean helping developing countries better assess their taxes and increase their revenue for development.
You are very familiar with the fact that the tax base in India is extremely narrow
I am very familiar with the fact that in India the number of taxpayers is low. What matters from the OECD perspective, as we are dealing primarily with corporate income tax, is the tax base of companies, both national and multinational, in India. Is it properly apprehended?
You need to combine that with how to attract investments in India. On the one hand India is willing to be very tough in terms of taxing income at source and has a very opinionated position on that subject which is fair enough as a capital importing country.
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‘Tax havens are all but over’