Tax Transparency: too little, too late

As far as individuals are concerned, international problems can be tackled through increased tax cooperation and transparency. As to corporations, on the other hand, taxing multinational groups at arm’s length together with an increase of tax cooperation would not solve the problems of global tax law. In this case, the problem lies in the structural principles behind international taxation of multinational groups and, therefore, a reaction based only on tax transparency is clearly insufficient.

Continue Reading →

Leaked Transparency and Whistleblowers

The ability of organisational insiders to speak up and disclose information in the public interest is at the core democratic values. It seems paradoxical then to punish and prosecute those who actively practice them. The time is ripe to establish a legal framework with clear requirements for protected disclosure that affords a wide protection to individuals who expose wrongdoing in the public interest.

Continue Reading →

Tax Evasion and Human Rights

The United Nations Covenant should be interpreted to prohibit state mandated bank secrecy, which facilitates tax evasion by wealthy residents of the developing world. In other words, bank secrecy laws of Lichtenstein, Panama, and Switzerland, for example, violate internationally recognized human rights.

Continue Reading →

Pluralismus-Lehrstunde für die Türkei

Mit zwei wichtigen Entscheidungen, eine davon sogar epochal wichtig, versucht der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte in Straßburg heute, die Türkei auf den Pfad zu Pluralismus und Rechtsstaatlichkeit zu lenken. Beide betreffen Regelwerke und Rechtspraktiken, die dem Staat erheblichen Spielraum gewähren, je nach Nützlichkeit und Laune so oder anders zu entscheiden. Beide verschaffen Minderheiten, vor denen der Staat Angst hat, Schutz. Beide hindern den Staat daran, sich um ihrer besseren Lenkbarkeit willen eine uniforme Gesellschaft zu schaffen. Beide werden der Türkei noch schwer zu schaffen machen.

Continue Reading →

Why Transparency Alone Will Not Suffice To Fight Tax Evasion

I am skeptical about the effectiveness of a shift towards more transparency. I do not believe that this could help overcoming the growing gap between legality and legitimacy in international tax law. Especially, I do not see how the gap can be reduced by making taxpayer information public. Or better, I do not believe this is the right path that States should pursue.

Continue Reading →

Privacy and Tax Evading

Privacy, at least with respect to taxes, is the shield of the villains. The legal or constitutional issue should not focus on preventing the flow of information but rather on the way the informed uses the information.

Continue Reading →

Panama Lessons: Less Privacy, More Tax Justice

Information is the new currency of international tax policy. Countries have successfully developed techniques and strategies to enhance the flow of tax-relevant information across borders. This shift requires adaptations with respect not just to human rights but to democracy: Lawyers should reconsider the traditional core of parliamentary power to tax. Democratic assent to the imposition of taxes needs to be informed consent. As long as lawmakers cannot assess the economic impact of existing and new tax rules in a global environment, lawmaking is a blind flight.

Continue Reading →

Is the European Central Bank Becoming a Central Bank for the People of Europe?

In February 2016, while David Cameron and the other EU-leaders were busy negotiating the terms of Britain’s membership of the Union, the European Central Bank (ECB) did something curious. It changed its self-description on its website from: the ECB “is the central bank for Europe’s single currency, the euro” to: the ECB “is the central bank for the euro area” and “of the 19 European Union countries which have adopted the euro.” The ECB, it seems, confines itself no longer to being the central bank of a free floating currency, defying and denying national specificities and territorial borders. Furthermore, its governmental activities are no longer limited to governing the currency: it claims to govern for the euro area as a central bank of the 19 euro countries.

Continue Reading →

Causa Böhmermann: Die Rückkehr der Staatsehre?

Die Entscheidung zur Ermächtigung der deutschen Staatsanwaltschaft, gegen Jan Böhmermann ein Strafverfahren nach § 103 StGB einzuleiten, wird naturgemäß hitzig diskutiert. Über die politischen, straf- und menschenrechtlichen Aspekte hinaus weist der Fall auch eine nicht zu verachtende allgemein-völkerrechtliche Komponente auf: Die Achtung der Ehre fremder Staaten.

Continue Reading →

Anti-Roma-Märsche in Ungarn: Staat muss Anzeichen auf Hasskriminalität nachgehen

Die Neonazi-Aufmärsche von Gyöngyöspata 2011 haben Ungarn eine Verurteilung vor dem EGMR in Straßburg eingebracht – und den Staaten Europas die klare Ansage, Hasskriminalität als HASSkriminalität zu verfolgen und die Augen vor rassistischen Motiven von Straftaten nicht zu verschließen.

Continue Reading →