The Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers, and the Pandora Papers have exposed how tax advisors, lawyers, financial institutions, and other intermediaries have helped the world’s economic elites hold their wealth through corporations and trusts organized in tax havens. These professional enablers are frequently located in a country other than that of the relevant taxpayers. This means that the tax avoidance enablers are often out of the reach of the victim governments.

How can a government counter the activities of professional enablers located in other countries? This has proven to be a formidable challenge. This Article proposes a novel solution: a new international reporting standard, referred to as Global Mandatory Disclosure Rules (GMDR), which will impose reporting obligations on intermediaries assisting taxpayers with designing and implementing cross-border tax schemes.

This proposal builds on the legal mechanisms currently deployed in several countries. Mandatory disclosure rules (MDRs), which require that intermediaries report their clients’ tax schemes, were introduced in the United States in the 1980s. Since then, MDRs have been adopted in several countries as domestic measures targeting local tax avoidance enablers and their clients. In recent years, the European Union and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have introduced multilateral MDRs that focus on certain crossborder arrangements. Drawing upon these reporting regimes, this Article proposes GMDR as a comprehensive standard.

GMDR is a missing piece in the global tax transparency framework which could close gaps in other international tax reporting standards. This Article explains the need for GMDR, explores the relevant design options, and proposes an implementation strategy. As GMDR could be an indispensable tool in the international effort to curb cross-border tax abuse, this proposal deserves serious consideration.

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