The financial and economic crisis has led to a long overdue re-evaluation of the role, regulation and taxation of the financial industry around the world.
The IMF estimated that the crisis would cost G20 countries over $1 trillion in increased deficits; costs citizens are now paying for through public spending cuts, austerity measures and consumption tax increases. This alone is a good reason for the unprecedented interest in introducing new taxes on banking and the finance industry. Despite this, the commitment by G20 leaders at their September 2009 summit that the “financial sector should make a fair and substantial contribution” towards paying for some of the costs of the crisis remains unfulfilled.
Following strong advocacy by civil society and labour organisations, a significant advance was made in June 2011 when the European Commission recommended a European financial transactions tax be introduced by 2018 at the latest. It estimated this would generate €37 billion (US$52 billion) a year to fund the European Union’s budget activities.
Beyond paying for some of the costs of the crisis, there are also a number of other compelling reasons for increasing taxation of the financial sector.