Dr. Daniel J. Mitchell of the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation will be the featured Guest Speaker at an upcoming conference in London on *”Tax Harmonisation Versus Tax Competition: Which Promotes Prosperity?”* The event is being sponsored by The Institute of Economic Affairs and the TaxPayers Alliance on Tuesday, February 3rd.
Mr. Mitchell will lead a discussion investigating whether tax harmonisation or tax competition contributes more to economic growth. In addition to reviewing Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) initiatives, the discussion will examine various European Union (EU) tax harmonisation measures.
The seminar has been scheduled to coincide with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s February 3-5 meeting with low-tax jurisdictions in London, to discuss so-called “harmful tax competition”.
At the last meeting of the OECD’s Global Forum on Taxation, participants – including representatives from 40 OECD and non-OECD governments – acknowledged that progress had been made. They recognised, however, that a global level playing field does not yet exist and that further progress could and should be made. In particular, they agreed that ways should be explored to involve significant financial centres that are not currently participating in the Global Forum process. An important part of the process would be to review what standards financial centres currently apply and where further progress might be required.
In this connection, participants agreed to work intensively to progress the global level playing field issue and the broader question of improving the process by which this work can be accomplished. A small group was established to develop proposals for consideration by the broader group, with the aim of reporting back to the Global Forum in April 2004.
The OECD says that efforts of the Global Forum on Taxation are not about one country acting as a tax collector for another. Rather, *”it’s about international cooperation and good international relations between neighbours.”* In this connection, the Forum is attempting to provide a framework within which acceptable international standards on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes can be developed.