WASHINGTON—Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 largest economies sent a warning Friday to tax havens hiding billions of dollars in potential revenue critical to domestic growth plans around the world.
G-20 finance officials called on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to report by July countries and jurisdictions that haven’t signed up to new international standards on tax transparency and information sharing.
“Defensive measures will be considered by G-20 members against non-cooperative jurisdictions,” the officials said in their statement after two days of meetings in Washington.
The G-20 has been working on the issue for years, finalizing a deal last year to close international tax loopholes. But the matter drew widespread global attention after the leak of the so-called Panama Papers earlier this month. The revelations linked scores of public figures, executives and celebrities around the world to overseas assets in offshore tax havens from the British Virgin Islands to Panama, provoking a public outcry and fueling growing inequality concerns around the globe.
“There is one thing which has not gone very global and that is taxation, which is still very much a local affair associated with national sovereignty,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said. “International cooperation has to really be significantly improved.”