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IMF Launches Consultation On Financial Sector Tax

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

15 January 2010

The International Money Fund (IMF), as part of the compilation of its report on proposals to recover public money that was used to support banks in the current financial crisis, has announced that it will be launching a comprehensive consultation to allow input from experts and observers. Among policy options being discussed is the idea of a financial sector tax.

The IMF report was commissioned by the Group of Twenty (G-20) industrial and emerging market countries to analyze policy options “for how the financial sector could make a fair and substantial contribution toward paying for any burdens associated with government interventions.”

In a statement announcing the beginning of the consultation, IMF First Deputy Managing Director John Lipsky, who is heading the IMF group preparing the report, said that the consultation is “an important aspect of [the IMF’s report] as we move forward.”

“We will be seeking the views of a broad set of observers, who will bring varied perspectives and valuable insights to the process.”

According to the IMF statement, to ensure that the consultation is comprehensive it will involve IMF staff interaction with tax experts, academics, labor unions, and civil society. In addition, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Lipsky will hold meetings with senior officials of civil society organizations, who have already submitted 91 letters opining the proposals.

Along with these meetings, the IMF is issuing a call for written comment on the matter of financial sector taxation as part of the consultation process. Interested parties are asked to submit their comments by February 1, 2010, after which time submissions will be posted on the IMF website. A second call for comment will take place after the initial IMF study is published.

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