Archive for September 1st, 2009

Greetings from the OECD Global Tax Forum in Mexico City.

Our erstwhile friends at the OECD are not very tolerant of dissent, and this trip is a good example. First, they bullied the hotel in Cabo into canceling my reservation. Apparently, my mere presence would create a disturbance to their plans for one-size-fits-all taxation. But then the conference got moved to Mexico City because of the hurricane and the bureaucrats did not have the ability – at least on short notice – into coercing the new hotel into denying me the ability to get a room (not that it would have been a big deal to register someplace else, but it is somewhat galling that petty bureaucrats seem so intent of throwing roadblocks in the way of the folks who pay their bloated – and tax free – salaries).

Today, however, the OECD upped the ante. I have been hanging out in the public lobby outside of the OECD’s conference room. This location makes it easy to communicate with the delegates from low-tax nations. This apparently irritates the bureaucrats, so they sent one of their security officials to ask me to leave. I asked what right he had to make such a request, especially since I was in a public area. He claimed that the lobby – which also serves as the entrance to a restaurant and the business center – was reserved for the conference. I said that was absurd and would like to see the hotel management. Perhaps more important, I turned to the reporter next to me and started explaining that this was a typical example of the OECD’s reprehensible strong-arm tactics. This flustererd the security guy and he backed down.

But I suspect that this is not the end of the story. And since I’m not overly confident that the Mexican government respects the rule of law, I do have visions of getting carted off to an unpleasant¬†jail. If you don’t see anything in this space tomorrow morning, that won’t be a good sign.

For those interested in more background on the issue, read this memo and/or watch my videos on tax competition and tax havens.

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The good news is that the hurricane caused the OECD to pull the plug on its Global Tax Forum in Cabo. The bad news is that the Paris-based bureaucracy packed all the delegates onto Mexican government jets and moved the conference to Mexico City. 

Not surprisingly, I was not offered a ride, which left me in the unenviable position of scrambling to get a ticket from Cabo to Mexico City – a task that was complicated by an airport full of people looking to escape the hurricane. I vaguely felt like I was an extra in the John Candy-Steve Martin 1987 comedy, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, but eventually I shoe-horned myself onto a flight.

Today, I’ll be spending my time offering assistance and advice to the low-tax jurisdictions being persecuted by the OECD. For those interested in learning more, this three-page memo has all the details.

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