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Towards Fiscal Justice at the G20: We Joined Civil Society's Support for a Global Tax on the Ultra-Rich

Towards Fiscal Justice at the G20: We Joined Civil Society's Support for a Global Tax on the Ultra-Rich

Along with several partner organisations, we participated in the Civil Society Meeting on the G20 and International Taxation on May 22-23 at Brasilia.This event, convened by the Government of Brazil and in parallel to the G20 International Taxation Symposium, brought together a wide array of government officials, academics and civil society organisations, to discuss fiscal reforms to be introduced in the context of the G20.

In that regard, this initiative was the first instance in which the G20 Finance Track opened itself to civil society participation, proving a testament to the fundamental role that CSO contributions can have towards the achievement of comprehensive, better-grounded, and more equitable fiscal policies, as well as to strengthen the overall transparency and accountability of these sort of spaces.

Our Deputy Director, Camila Barreto Maia, and our Associate, Ezequiel Steuermann, attended the discussions. Among many topics, the initiative of a global tax on the ultra-rich was promoted under Brazil's Presidency of the G20 based on a proposal by Dr. Gabriel Zucman (ICRICT). We drafted a series of recommendations and personally handed them to the Finance Minister of Brazil, Fernando Haddad, during the closing session of the G20 International Taxation Symposium.

These guidelines underscore civil society's overall support for taxing the ultra-rich.

Stemming from debunked assumptions about investment attraction and economic growth, big fortunes often incur negligible tax rates, perpetuating a cycle of wealth concentration and widening inequality. While not comprehensive enough to achieve genuinely progressive fiscal systems, a political message to stop the downward spiral of wealth taxation could signify a stride toward more progressive taxation. The CSO document also highlighted the limits of the G20 and OECD as the preferred forum for deliberation. The pivotal role that negotiating this process within the United Nations and the Framework Convention on International Taxation can have is to secure democratic deliberation in building up to global fiscal reforms and ensuring a decolonial approach favoring the Global South's interests.

A human rights-based approach to international taxation, which understands progressive fiscal reforms such as the one promoted as pivotal tools to secure economic, social, and cultural rights, is fundamental, and we effectively introduced such normative obligations within the debate on key issues such as a just climate transition, reducing gender inequality and reinforcing the fight against poverty, among others.Overall, the growing momentum for a move towards global taxation on the ultra-rich is gaining space and political consensus among the states that form part of the G20. These states are also supported by a significant number of regional counterparts, as highlighted in the case of Latin America through a recent joint statement by the States parties to the PTLAC.

The time is now to ensure that such a burgeoning political process can effectively meet the demands of the hour by situating human rights considerations at the top of the priority list during the negotiations leading to the joint declaration of the G20 in July and the G20 Chief of States Summit in November. You can read our recommendations here:


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