Lost in information: national implementation of global tax agreements

We study how national implementation shapes the success of global tax agreements. In an unprecedented act of global coordination, countries have recently implemented a global multilateral network of automatic information exchange (AEI) on financial account data. Two parties, the sending, and the receiving countries need to be able to process information to make AEI work. We build a novel database on country characteristics for both the sending and the receiving countries. On the sender level, we build a dataset relying on newly published OECD statistics on AEI enforcement. Using micro-level data, we find a significant increase in bank transfers from tax havens to Norway from deposits owned through several layers of secrecy after the local introduction of AEI. This suggests a possible legalization of previously unreported income and wealth abroad. We provide evidence of variation in responses depending on enforcement intensity in the sending countries. On the receiver level, we operationalize a new dataset from the OECD with approx. 100 variables on the capacity of the tax administration. Relying on macro data on cross-border bank deposits, we tailor model averaging routines to establish the important characteristics of the receiving countries making AEI more effective. Our results so far shed light on how the characteristics of the sending and the receiving countries affect the success of global tax agreements.

(with Annette Alstadsæter, Jakob Miethe & Barbara Stage)