(Mar. 28, 2011) The first international Tax and Crime Conference was held in Oslo from March 21-23, 2011. Hosted by the Norwegian government, the conference was organized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (Luis Nouel, Tax and Crime Conference, Oslo (21-23 March 2011), TAX NEWS SERVICE (Mar. 25, 2011), International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation online subscription database; Programme: Tax and Crime Conference: A Whole of Government Approach in Fighting Financial Crime (Mar. 21-23, 2011, Oslo), OECD website (last visited Mar. 25, 2011).)
Some of the conclusions reached by the Conference were:
- Tax crimes, being serious crimes,need to be pursued as such. Participants welcomed discussions within the Financial Action Task Force on tax crimes as a predicate offense.
- Business has a key role to play by establishing the tone from the top,through internal controls, policy, and structures to ensure compliance.
- Inter-agency co-operationby tax, law enforcement, anti-money laundering authorities, and, where appropriate, other agencies is of clear benefit.
- The legislative, policy, and operational gapsthat prevent effective domestic and international co-operation need to be filled. (The Launch of the Oslo Dialogue: A Closing Statement by Norway, as Host, and the OECD, OECD website (Mar. 23, 2011).)
It was decided that in the aftermath of the meeting that the OECD, along with other international organizations and interested parties, would:
1) Establish a global dialogue on inter-agency collaboration, perhaps supported by a platform to enable sharing of operational experiences, to better fight financial crimes, including illegal financial flows.
2) Establish an OECD Task force to immediately advance the issues discussed at the conference, focusing on:
- improving inter-agency co-operation by mapping out different approaches, with a view to developing best practice standards and with a special focus on the contribution to this effort that tax administrations can make (for example, one model of cooperation might be a forum for criminal investigators bringing together different governmental agencies from both developing and developed countries);
- cataloging all relevant forms and instruments of international co-operation in the fight against financial crime, as a means of improving understanding and use of international co-operation mechanisms; and
- “supporting sustainable development and fiscal transparency by seeking to assess areas of biggest benefit to developing countries from the 'whole of government approach.'” (Id.) Such an approach is one that involves government departments across a broad spectrum, i.e., those “responsible for security, and political and economic affairs, as well as those responsible for development aid and humanitarian assistance.” (WHOLE OF GOVERNMENT APPROACHES TO FRAGILE STATES 7 (OECD, 2006).)
The Conference outcomes are to be presented at the OECD Ministerial Meeting scheduled for May 25-26, 2011. (The Launch of the Oslo Dialogue: A Closing Statement by Norway, as Host, and the OECD, supra.)