Too late, too little? The IMF and international tax flight
When key decision makers of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gather in Washington DC for the IMF’s annual meeting in October, one thing that would merit more attention is the mismatch between the IMF’s recent alignments against international tax flight and the tax policy advice it gives to its member states. Recent years have seen increasing interest on the development impacts of different forms of international tax flight, from illegal tax evasion to questionable tax avoidance. To highlight one example, United Nations Conference for Trade and Development UNCTAD estimated in 2015 that developing country tax losses related to tax haven-related investments are annually around US$100 billion. In a recent WIDER working paper, I analysed the policy advice that the IMF had given to Panama, Seychelles and the Netherlands since 1999. The results? Despite the IMF’s recent efforts after 2011 to scale up its work against international tax flight, the outcomes have been disappointing.