The challenges of tax justice do not exist in a vacuum. It is not an accident that billions of dollars are lost worldwide to tax avoidance and tax evasion each year. Nor is there anything random about the failure to tackle loopholes, or to move forward proven measures to improve transparency and accountability of the actors, or simply to maintain progressive taxation.
The professional enablers – including banks, law firms and the major audit and accounting firms, along with real estate agents, trust companies and others, and myriad lobbying groups– are key players in both the design of schemes for tax abuse and the prejudicial political influence that undermines tax justice, and in some cases in facilitating criminal activities. The resulting impacts on human rights, including women’s rights, are dramatic.
This year, our conference focused on qualitative and quantitative research that explores the role and the influence of the enablers, and innovative proposals for their better regulation. Additional topics included tax competition and the race to the bottom, tax justice and human rights, financial secrecy, scale of revenue losses, and whistleblowers.
The inaugural TJN lecture and prize took place on the evening of 2 July. The lecture, by Professor Sol Picciotto of Lancaster University, was on the past, present and future of international tax rules, and was followed by the presentation of the inaugural Anderson-Lucas-Norman award for tax justice heroism to Eva Joly.
This conference was the latest in an annual series dating back to 2003. The events bring together academics, researchers, journalists, policy staff of civil society organisations, consultants and professionals, elected politicians, and government and international organisation officials to facilitate research, open-minded debate and discussion, and to generate ideas and proposals to inform and shape political initiatives and mobilisation.