Arising out of the work of the joint Commonwealth/OECD Working Group on Harmful Tax Competition, has been the formation of the International Tax and Investment Organisation (ITIO), a new multilateral body with the following aims:
1. To strengthen international cooperation between small and developing economies (SDEs) in tax and investment matters;
2. To assist SDEs to interface with international organisations to achieve this end; and
3. To consider the development implications of international tax and investment initiatives.
The ITIO will coordinate activities, disseminate information, undertake research, provide analysis and advice and facilitate technical assistance.
Although the ITIO will help members deal with the OECD’s Harmful Tax Competition initiative, there are other global initiatives that impact on international tax and investment issues, which need to be addressed from a global perspective. The ITIO’s remit thus extends beyond OECD taxation matters. Its activities will be complementary to those of existing regional and international bodies.
Any country or jurisdiction that is interested in: (a) pursuing cooperation on international tax and investment matters; and (b) exploring the development implications of tax and investment issues may join the ITIO. Jurisdictions that join at an early stage will be known as founding members, and International organisations sharing the ITIO’s interests may be given Observer status. The ITIO intends to seek private sector input into its activities.
The Organising Committee currently comprises Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cook Islands, Dominica, Malaysia and Vanuatu. The Pacific Forum has been granted formal observer status, and supportive organisations include the Commonwealth Secretariat and CARICOM Secretariat.
The first Chair is being held by Barbados, which is hosting the ITIO’s Secretariat in its Ministry of Industry and International Business.
WHAT THE ITIO OFFERS ITS MEMBERS:
– A unified voice for SDEs, helping them to contribute more effectively to the ongoing debate on international tax and investment measures;
– Consideration of the development implications of these measures, taking into account differences in size and level of development of SDEs;
– An equitable and balanced approach, with no preferential treatment but an equal say for all members;
– A new focus on sharing knowledge and best practice more effectively between developing country jurisdictions; and
– A platform for SDEs to promote their views clearly and consistently to the media and wider political audiences on tax and investment issues.