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G20 ministers back tax avoidance crackdown

Finance ministers from the world's leading economies have thrown their weight behind a detailed plan to clamp down on large-scale tax avoidance by multinational firms. Existing loopholes are to be reduced.

Finance ministers from the G20 group of industrialized nations on Friday gave the green light to a fresh plan to curb tax avoidance practiced by multinational companies and costing nations between $100 billion (88 billion euros) and $240 billion a year.

The so-called Base Erosion and Profit Shifting plan (BEPS) drafted by the OECD seeks to close at least some of the existing loopholes internationally operating companies use to avoid paying taxes.

Following the thumps-up from finance ministers at the G20 meeting in Lima, Peru, the scheme needs to be given final approval at a summit November in Turkey.

No time to waste

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Cevdet Yilmiz called the plan "a historic moment," adding it addressed comprehensive set of issues, including profit-shifting across borders and the impact of the digital economy.

"Base erosion and profit shifting is sapping our economies of the resources needed to jump-start growth, tackle the effects of the global economic crisis and create better opportunities for all," said OECD General Secretary Angel Gurria.

He demanded that the plan be implemented quickly upon approval across the G20 nations to win back citizens' trust in fair taxation.

hg/jd (AFP, dpa)

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