The Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs is now pulled into the CBCR process

Until now Parliament´s own control mechanisms have not been involved. They will be now when Parliament takes this step. Photo: Johannes Jansson/norden.org

 

The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs has reported the Government´s lack of follow-up of the transparency law extended country-by-country reporting.

The background is that The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs has sent a letter to The Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs with a report to follow up the request agreement which was published June 19, 2015.

 

The Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs

The newspaper Vårt Land writes about the letter. The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs´ leader, Hans Olav Syversen, makes this statement in the newspaper:

"-We, as a committee, have written a report for the follow-up of the request agreement. It expresses our impatience in a letter to The Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs. We ask that the Government be informed of this, and that they prioritize this. It is not common for the Committee to do this.” (Translated by PWYP Norway)

 

The Parliament request

The request from Parliament was presented by The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs´ leader Hans Olav Syversen (KrF - Christian Folk Party) and states as follows:

"Parliament asks the Government to examine the effect of the regulation on country-by-country reporting (LLR) as measured against Parliament´s goal of making unwanted tax activities transparent, and ensure that relevant information tied to CBC reporting from daughter industries and support of Third World countries are included in the accounts. Parliament asks the Government to also consider how monitoring of those accountable for the reporting according to CBCR regulations can be established.” (Translated by PWYP Norway)

The agreement paves the way for getting extended country-by-country reporting in place. It is an important step, but it is not enough. It has to be followed up by the Government.

But the Government has not followed it up.

 

Comfortable confusion of concepts?

There has been much confusion - desirable or undesirable - concerning different tracks for transparency.  Several operatives have referred to the measure "country-by-country" (LLR), but the concept has been used for two entirely different tracks for transparency. It might look like the same thing, but it isn´t. "CBC reporting" is something else than "CBCR for tax purposes". These are two completely different tracks with completely different basis for transparency and insight which in turn will have enormous consequences for the kind of transparency the public will attain.  

Read this article in order to understand the difference: Parliament asked for ECBCR. The Ministry of Finance offered BEPS.

Until now, Parliament´s own control mechanisms have not been connected. They will be when Parilament takes this step. The point is the same: the Government has not followed up on Parliament´s request. This is the background for why The Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs is now drawn into the process.

 

Claims strengthened fight, shows old measures

Conservative Party of Norway (Høyre) implemented their congress in 2016 when the Panama Papers leak was all over the media Conservative Party of Norway (Høyre) at that time made this statement:

"Adopted statement nr. 1: Strengthened fight against tax evasion: 

Our common welfare depends on individuals and companies in Norway paying taxes in Norway. Therefore it is important that Norway contributes actively in the fight against international tax evasion, corruption, and evasion of taxation rules. Norwegian authorities are a driving force in this work, where important results have been achieved among other where improving international standards for information exchange are concerned. Volunteer organizations and journalists are also important driving forces to ensure progress in this work. Which is why there is reason to commend the work that has been done in connection with the Panama revelations. These can contribute to speed up the work to fight international tax evasion and avoidance of taxation rules." (Translated by PWYP Norway)

Unfortunately the measure referred to in the statement, the Information Exchange agreements, are not suited to give transparency in the companies to show tax evasion. Conservative Party of Norway (Høyre) has earlier referred to this measure when they are challenged on tax evasion.

Read the opinion piece: Will the Conservative Party and the Progress Party prevent tax flight?

 

MDG is on track

Rasmus Hansen of Miljøpartiet de Grønne (MDG - Green Environmental Party) has, based on the case being made familiar in the newspaper Vårt Land, posed the question of when the hearing and country-by-country reporting will come.

Hansen has also posed representative suggestions concerning a convention about economic transparency.