Sharing Tax Information in the 21st Century: Big Data Flows and Taxpayers as Data Subjects
Canadian Tax Journal/Revue fiscale canadienne, 2019, Vol. 67, No. 4, p. 1179-1199
22 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2020
Date Written: December 27, 2019
In the last 10 years, governments have initiated several reforms to automatically exchange bulk taxpayer information with other governments (mainly via the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, the common reporting standard, and country-by-country reporting). This enhanced sharing of tax information has been encouraged both by technological change, including digitization, big data, and data analytics; and by political trends, including governments' efforts to reduce offshore tax evasion and aggressive international tax avoidance. In some cases, however, legal protections for taxpayer privacy and other interests are insufficiently robust for this emerging international sharing framework. Conceptually, taxpayers should be seen as "data subjects" whose rights are proactively protected by data protection laws and policies, including fair information practices. An optimal regime, which would balance the interests of taxpayers against those of tax authorities, should include a multilateral taxpayer bill of rights, a cross-border withholding tax that could be imposed in lieu of information exchange, and a global financial registry that would allow governments to identify the beneficial owners of business and legal entities.
Keywords: Tax evasion, tax avoidance, TIEA
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