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Business Words in the News
Friday 19 April 2002
Vocabulary from the business news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  Monte Carlo skyline
Seven tax havens come under fire
Summary: Seven small states have been threatened with sanctions by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) because they are accused of behaving as "unco-operative tax havens." This report from Ian Pollock:
   
The News Listen  
  The naming and shaming of these 7 states is part of the OECD's 4 year long campaign against international tax evasion. The 30 countries of the OECD account for most of the world's wealth. They fear that huge amounts of tax is being lost to them by rich people and corporations claiming that they are based in tax havens around the globe where tax rates are low or non-existent.

Two years ago there were 35 countries on the OECD list. Most of them have now agreed, in principle, to improve their financial transparency and exchange more information with foreign tax authorities. If the remaining 7 don't do so by April next year they could face penalties.

The OECD says it will devise "defensive measures", such as cancelling existing tax treaties with the states or taxing money being moved to them. However the OECD has no power itself to enforce such measures.

The campaign against tax evasion has been given added impetus by the desire of governments to confiscate the assets of terrorists after September 11th.

 
   
The Words Listen
 
  naming and shaming
exposing an organisation or person by telling the media what they have done wrong and giving their name and so make them feel ashamed.

 
   
  tax evasion
the crime of not paying the full amount of tax that you should

 
   
  tax havens
places which have low rates of taxation so that people or companies live or register there in order not to pay so much tax in their own countries

 
   
  non-existent
does not exist at all

 
   
  agreed, in principle
if you agree with something in principle, you agree with the idea but you may not support it in practice

 
   
  financial transparency
a financial system that is clear and open and does not try to hide anything

 
   
  penalties
a punishment for doing something that is against the law or against the rules

 
   
  treaties
written agreements between countries

 
   
  given added impetus
an important effect that something has on a situation which causes a process to develop more quickly

 
   
  confiscate
to take away something from someone, often as a punishment

 
   
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