Message to Finance Committee: Bilateral Tax Haven Agreements Useless

Canadians will continue to lose a minimum of $7.8 billion a year if Prime Minister Harper and other members of the G8 fail to agree on a plan to tackle global tax havens.  That’s the message Canadians for Tax Fairness executive director Dennis Howlett will give to Monday's Finance Committee hearings on Bill S-17  related to implementation of tax conventions.  

  “In the six days the Prime Minister has been out of the country, the federal government lost nearly $13 million in revenue – just from not having a system in place. How is that good fiscal management?” Howlett says.

 Last week, when he arrived in London, Harper indicated support for a system to track if, and where, multinational corporations pay taxes on profits. 

 “Good start,” says Howlett. “But for a plan to work it has to be comprehensive. Nearly all of us pay our taxes and our government owes it to us to make sure that the super-wealthy and multi-nationals are doing the same thing. There are several other key measures that need to be agreed upon coming out of the G8.”

 Bill S-17 deals with bilateral tax treaties with a number of countries, including several that are recognized as tax havens.  They are almost useless for exposing tax cheats using tax havens without a global system for automatic tax information exchange.  

Tax haven use in Canada is at an all-time high with $170 billion – ten percent of the GDP – socked offshore.