Winning the Tax Wars: Global Solutions for Developing Countries

Tax base erosion, driven by tax avoidance and tax evasion by multi-national firms and wealthy individuals, afflicts many countries, as the Panama Papers highlighted recently. These dynamics are damaging for developing countries, as they undermine their state capacity building and can lead to tax increases for the poor.

On 24 May, at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC, Green Cross International COO Adam Koniuszewski will moderate a discussion with William S. Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project, and Corinne Lepage, former French Minister of the Environment (1995-1997). They will focus on the global and regional coordination of carbon taxes, particularly among developing countries that need revenue to invest in development.

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New consensus seems to be emerging to globally enforce corrective tax instruments on goods whose consumption creates social negative externalities, such as tobacco and CO2 emissions. Tobacco taxes could represent a win-win for developing countries in terms of improving public health, while generating additional fiscal revenues. Similarly, carbon taxes could help mitigate climate change and contribute to reduce the welfare divide between developing and more advanced countries. In both cases, regional and global tax coordination and tax cooperation will be necessary to achieve those ambitious goals.