Oxfam: lose tax havens to ‘end inequality’

Oxfam has taken aim at tax havens, saying they are allowing the world’s wealthiest one per cent to extend the gap between themselves and the rest of the global population.

In a report released ahead of this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, (pictured), the non-governmental organisation (NGO) led with the statistic that, as of 2015, the world’s richest 62 people own as much wealth as the rest of the world combined.

It claimed that the world’s “richest individuals” are holding US$7.6trn in low-tax jurisdictions.

“There will be no end to the inequality crisis until world leaders end the era of tax havens once and for all,” the report said.

In a statement accompanying the report, Oxfam said: “As a priority, it [Oxfam] is calling for an end to the era of tax havens which has seen increasing use of offshore centres by rich individuals and companies to avoid paying their fair share to society. This has denied governments valuable resources needed to tackle poverty and inequality.”

Oxfam said it had researched 200 of the world’s largest companies, and found 90% had a presence in at least one “tax haven”, though it did not specify what it did and did not class as a tax haven.

The NGO also said corporate investment in these tax havens had quadrupled between 2001 and 2014.

It estimated that a third of “rich Africans’ wealth” – amounting to US$500bn – was kept in offshore tax havens, and that this was costing African nations $14bn in tax revenue.

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