Tax Justice to Promote Social Justice. Research on Taxes for Development
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Panel chair and moderation of the VIDC conference opening with Krishen Mehta (Senior Global Justice Fellow, Yale University & Senior Advisor, Tax Justice Network). In his keynote speech "Reinventing Tax Justice to Achieve Social Justice" Mr. Mehta gives an overview of the main challenges and opportunities in the field of tax policies. He makes clear that tax policies can be designed to curb inequalities, but need to be complemented by redistributive budget policies. Tax systems can also enhance democratic governance by making governments more accountable to their tax-paying citizens.
Despite the importance of tax for financing sustainable development and redistributing wealth, many countries face challenges in their efforts to increase their tax revenues. The reasons on the domestic level include tax administrations? capacity problems, and the undercutting of tax revenues when numerous tax incentives and exemptions are given to corporations and wealthy individuals. On the international level, tax avoidance and evasion are enabled by an outdated international tax architecture that is based on bilateral tax agreements and is unsuitable for the globalized economy of the 21st century, as well as an international system of tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions.