Oxfam International Blogs - tax justice http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/tags/tax-justice fr Historic vote in European Parliament for a Europe free from tax havens http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/81929 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>Last week, the European Parliament voted in favour of listing five EU countries as tax havens. Now, European Union governments and the European Commission must follow through to end tax havens, writes Oxfam’s tax expert, Johan Langerock.</strong></em></p><p>The European Union is home to some of the world’s worst and largest tax havens.</p><p>For years, academia, politicians, Oxfam and others have been calling on the EU to clean up its house. But when EU finance ministers published an <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/reactions/eus-tax-havens-blacklist-more-whitewash" rel="nofollow">update of their tax haven blacklist and ‘grey list’ recently</a>, once again EU member states were let off the hook.</p><p>Since the establishment of the tax haven blacklist in 2017, the EU has decided to only screen third countries in the blacklisting process.</p><p>In other words: European governments were not willing to hold themselves to the same standards by which they judge others. And until last week, no EU institution had dared to explicitly label EU countries as tax havens.</p><p><strong>Taking a stand against tax dodging</strong></p><p>This has now changed: last week, more than 300 parliamentarians from different political parties and countries took a stand and voted in favour of <a href="https://twitter.com/OxfamEU/status/1110572374875873280" rel="nofollow">a resolution that recognises the Netherlands, Malta, Cyprus, </a><br><a href="https://twitter.com/OxfamEU/status/1110572374875873280" rel="nofollow">Ireland and Luxembourg as tax havens</a>, referencing research conducted by Oxfam in our latest report “<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/hook-how-eu-about-whitewash-worlds-worst-tax-havens" rel="nofollow">Off the Hook</a>”. A historic breakthrough, and a very important step towards tax justice.</p><p>It is estimated that in 2015 alone, <a href="https://voxeu.org/article/missing-profits-nations" rel="nofollow">multinational companies shifted $600 billion (EUR 526 billion) in profits</a> to tax havens, with a third of this going to tax havens in the EU.</p><p>This tax dodging deprives rich and poor countries alike of the money needed to invest in public services, such as healthcare and education.</p><p>Women and girls are worst affected since girls are the first to be left out of school when education fees rise, and women tend to fill the gaps in public services with hours of unpaid care to a greater extent than men.</p><p><strong>Time for the Commission to take the next steps</strong></p><p>Following the European Parliament vote, it is now up to the European Commission to implement concrete measures to tackle tax havens and aggressive tax practices inside the European Union.</p><p>Years of austerity and a faltering economic model have widened the gap between rich and poor in Europe, contributing to increasingly polarised societies and plunging the EU into crisis.</p><p>Ending the era of tax havens – including those on EU territory – is one key step in the creation of a world where all companies and individuals pay their fair share of tax, to the benefit of all people.</p><p><em>This entry posted on 9 April 2019, by Johan Langerock, Oxfam&nbsp;Policy Advisor for Tax and Inequality.</em></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Historic vote in European Parliament for a Europe free from tax havens</h2></div> Tue, 09 Apr 2019 13:36:47 +0000 Guest Blogger 81929 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/81929#comments Paradise Papers one year on: Five ways to stop such tax scandals http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/81770 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Just one year ago, 13.4 million leaked files from offshore service providers and company registries were made public. This leak, known as the <a href="https://www.icij.org/investigations/paradise-papers/" rel="nofollow">Paradise Papers</a>, revealed the tax planning strategies of more than 100 multinational corporations, including Nike and Apple, as well as offshore activities by more than 120 politicians and world leaders.</p><p>Like always politicians were quick to react and promise reforms. But so far very little has happened. A new Paradise Papers is to be expected if no serious reforms are undertaken in the coming years. Just recently <a href="http://gabriel-zucman.eu/hidden-wealth/" rel="nofollow">Zucman estimated</a> that multinationals artificially shift almost half of their total overseas profits – 40 percent – to tax havens.</p><p><strong>Tax dodging is fueling an inequality crisis</strong> where <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/reward-work-not-wealth" rel="nofollow">82% of the wealth generated last year</a> went to the richest 1% of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth. When corporations and the super-rich dodge taxes, it is ordinary people, and especially the poorest, who pay the price as governments balance the budget by raising their taxes and cutting vital public services.</p><p><strong>Poor countries are particularly hard hit</strong> by corporate tax dodging as they are twice as dependent on corporate tax revenues as rich countries.</p><p>Governments must take five immediate steps to stop corporations and the super-rich cheating poor countries out of <a href="http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/wir2016_en.pdf" rel="nofollow">over $100 billion</a> in tax revenues every year.</p><p>Stopping the tax scandals won’t be easy but it is not impossible if the political will is there.</p><h3>Oxfam's 5-point plan for tax justice</h3><p>Oxfam’s five-point plan shows how governments can stop the tax scandals if they put the interests of the public over the demands of the super-rich and big business:</p><p><strong>1. Agree a global <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/even-it/full-disclosure-eus-blacklist-tax-havens" rel="nofollow">blacklist of tax havens</a></strong> based on comprehensive objective criteria and take strong countermeasures including sanctions to limit their use. Governments have yet to agree an objective global list of tax havens.</p><p>A farcical OECD - G20 blacklist published in June 2017<a href="https://www.ft.com/content/94d84054-5bf0-11e7-b553-e2df1b0c3220" rel="nofollow"> features just Trinidad and Tobago</a>. The more comprehensive European Union list, published last December, omits European tax havens such as the Netherlands and Ireland that have been key players in the Paradise Papers scandal.</p><p><strong>2. Create a global tax body</strong> where all countries can work together on an equal footing to agree the fundamental tax reforms that are needed to ensure the tax system works for everyone.</p><p>International tax reforms have done little to prevent tax dodging in rich countries and even less in poor countries which were denied any real say in the reform process. Yet OECD and G20 member countries have blocked attempts by poor countries to create an independent tax body where all countries can work together to agree a second round of more fundamental reforms. This would include action to combat damaging tax competition.</p><p><strong>3. Rebalance tax deals</strong> by making sure tax treaties do not exploit developing countries tax bases.</p><p>Poor countries often lose out from unfair tax agreements because they allow multinational companies to avoid paying tax in the country.&nbsp; Yet, international tax reforms led by the G20 and OECD ignored this issue – in part because poor countries were denied any real say in the process.</p><p><strong>4. End tax secrecy for the super-rich</strong> by establishing a centralized public register of the individuals who own and benefit from shell companies, trusts and foundations publicly available.</p><p>Many countries have established registers of ‘beneficial owners but few have made the information publicly available. This means poor countries are unable to access the information to identify tax dodgers.</p><p><strong>5. End corporate tax secrecy</strong> by ensuring all multinational companies make financial reports publicly available for every country where they operate.&nbsp;</p><p>The OECD initiative on country-by-country reporting falls well short of the mark as it does not cover all multinational corporations and it does not require companies to make their financial reports publicly available. This means poor countries are unable to access the information to identify tax cheats.&nbsp;</p><p>Stronger European proposals on public country-by-country reporting, were due to be agreed this year, but are being blocked by EU member states such as Germany, Ireland, and Luxembourg.</p><p><em>This entry posted on 5 November 2018, by Johan Langerock, Oxfam's EU Policy Advisor for Tax and Inequality.</em></p><p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/even-it/full-disclosure-eus-blacklist-tax-havens" rel="nofollow"><strong>Map of the EU's blacklist of tax havens</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Paradise Papers one year on: Five ways to stop such tax scandals</h2></div> Mon, 05 Nov 2018 18:35:32 +0000 Guest Blogger 81770 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/81770#comments Revealing Big Pharma’s tax dodging: The story behind the numbers http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/81710 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>It turns out drug dealers like to operate in the dark—even legitimate ones.</strong></p> <p>When we at Oxfam set out to estimate the size and scope of the tax dodging by some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies for our new report, <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/prescription-poverty">Prescription for Poverty</a>, we had no idea it would take two years of painstaking research. Yet, because of pervasive secrecy in the tax system, we had to spend months working with local researchers to uncover even the most basic financial information about the company’s operations in countries around the world.</p> <p>This secrecy is intentional—the world’s biggest companies do not want to reveal to the public where they make their money.</p> <p>Even the limited data we found shows why. Oxfam scoured the corporate balance sheets of Johnson &amp; Johnson, Pfizer, Merck and Abbott in 20 countries and uncovered <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/prescription-poverty">alarming new evidence</a> that these corporations appear to be using offshore tax havens to dodge billions of dollars in tax.</p> <p>In both the rich and poor countries we studied, giant US drug companies report earning only small profits—6% on average. The glaring exception to that pattern is tax havens, which charge little or no corporate tax, report earning 31% profit margins. These companies appear to be inflating profits in tax havens—shortchanging every other country of desperately needed revenue that should be used to invest in vital services such as hospitals and schools.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 1.231em; font-weight: bold;">Digging into pharma</span></p> <p>When we began this research, we drew up a list of hundreds of US pharma subsidiaries in dozens of countries where they operate and started digging into their financial activities. We found limited data on some of the subsidiaries operating in just seven developing countries—Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Pakistan, Peru, and Thailand.</p> <p>We repeated the process with tax havens. Yet again huge levels of secrecy meant we were only able to extract data on subsidiaries in four tax havens—Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Singapore.</p> <p>Even this limited data revealed a consistent pattern—very low profit margins in developing countries (averaging 5%) and very high profit margins in tax havens (averaging 31%).</p> <p>We then questioned our findings: what if the pattern we uncovered was due to sharply discounted pricing in developing countries, rather than tax dodging?</p> <p>To test that hypothesis, we embarked on a second phase of research, focusing on advanced economies that have a robust market for pharmaceuticals. We hit the same walls of secrecy, but the same overall pattern emerged—even in these rich countries, pharma companies reported only small profits margins—7%. This confirmed that pricing discounts were not driving the pattern we uncovered—the explanation, almost certainly, was tax avoidance.</p> <p><iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NRxCCbKJGIA" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-size: 1.231em; font-weight: bold;">But how much tax were they dodging?</span></p> <p>Our goal was to measure how much tax these companies paid versus the actual business they do in these countries to estimate how much tax they were avoiding.</p> <p>Yet again, financial and tax secrecy was a major constraint in getting an accurate assessment of drug companies’ operations. We were able to gather only the most basic financial information from pharma company subsidiaries—revenue, profits, and taxes paid. We could not get consistent information about number of employees, tangible or intangible assets, or other metrics of actual economic activity.</p> <p>So we needed to try a different approach. We decided to hold the companies’ global average profit margin consistent across every country where they operated, and then calculated how much more tax they would have paid if they earned the same profit margins everywhere.</p> <p>The results were revealing. The estimated tax loss in developing countries, $112 million per year, is enough to vaccinate 10 million girls against HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer. The estimated tax loss in advanced economies was even larger, $3.7 billion per year, $2.3 billion in the US alone. This is enough to provide healthcare for nearly 1 million kids living in poverty in the US.</p> <p>We do not claim that the companies are breaking the law. Not only is our estimate of economic activities very rough, but the law itself is riddled with loopholes—both companies and governments must take action to stop the race to the bottom on tax.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 1.231em; font-weight: bold;">Are guestimates good enough?</span></p> <p>Critics may argue the data we base our calculations on is incomplete, the methodology with which we calculate tax loss figures simplistic. And they are right.</p> <p>Our tax loss estimates are rough because corporate secrecy limited our access to data. We analyzed information for only a small subset of the dozens of countries in which pharma corporations operate, and only a subset of their subsidiaries in those countries. The data we found is just the tip of the iceberg, especially for developing countries.</p> <p>Our methodology to estimate tax revenue loss was limited because we did not know basic information about pharma operations in specific countries, like how many employees they had or where they located their assets.</p> <p>More data would have yielded more precise estimates—but pharma companies refuse to disclose additional information.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 1.231em; font-weight: bold;">Sunlight is the best disinfectant</span></p> <p>We are calling on the companies to release basic financial information, like revenue, profits, taxes paid, assets, and number of employees, in every country in which they operate. Some leading companies, like Vodafone, have already voluntarily agreed to publish that information. Johnson &amp; Johnson, Pfizer, Merck &amp; Co (MSD), and Abbott should all do the same.</p> <p>One hundred years ago, US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”</p> <p>Check out <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/prescription-poverty">our report</a> and let us know what you think. Better yet, join our efforts to remedy the disease of corporate tax dodging. <a href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/no-more-tax-dodging/petition/">Take action by signing our petition</a> to Johnson &amp; Johnson and other drug companies, calling on them to be more transparent and stop cheating women and girls out of the chance to beat poverty.</p> <p><em>This entry posted 18 September 2018, by Robbie Silverman, Advocacy Manager, Oxfam America.</em></p> <p><strong><a href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/no-more-tax-dodging/petition/">Act now: Tell the big drug companies: Stop dodging taxes</a></strong></p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Revealing Big Pharma’s tax dodging: The story behind the numbers</h2></div> Tue, 18 Sep 2018 15:41:03 +0000 Guest Blogger 81710 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/81710#comments How to end the inequality crisis? More tax justice http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/81373 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>This entry posted by Aurore Chardonnet (<span><span><a href="http://twitter.com/AuroChardon" rel="nofollow"><span><span>@</span><span>AuroChardon</span></span></a></span></span>), Oxfam’s EU Policy Advisor on tax and inequality, and Nina Monjean (<a href="http://twitter.com/Ninamonj" rel="nofollow">@Ninamonj)</a>, EU Policy Assistant, on 26 January 2018.</em></p><h3>An ever more unequal world is unbearable</h3><p>They say growth is good for everyone. But<strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/reward-work-not-wealth" rel="nofollow"> 82% of all the global wealth</a></strong> created last year went to the top 1%. Meanwhile the bottom half of the world saw no increase at all.</p><p>Furthermore, nine out of every ten billionaires are men. Our world is clearly divided and this is a situation that is blatantly unfair and unsustainable.</p><p>While the rich are getting richer, governments’ reforms all around the world have brought cuts in corporate income, wealth and property taxes and cuts in public services. The EU is not exempt from this trend, but can have a positive role – if it implements reforms.</p><h3>Unfair taxation increases the inequality crisis</h3><p>Who you tax has a big impact on the level of inequality in society. We need tax to finance much-needed public services such as health and education, and taxes should allow a fairer redistribution of income and wealth so that nobody is left behind.</p><p>Meanwhile taxes for rich businesses and individuals are being cut in a race to the bottom for which the poorest foot the bill. On average, legally imposed corporate income tax rates in OECD countries <a href="http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?DataSetCode=TABLE_II1" rel="nofollow"><strong>decreased by almost a third since 2000</strong></a>, falling from 30.4% to just 22.3% in 2017. Worse, the EU’s digital sector paid on average <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/sites/taxation/files/1_en_act_part1_v10_en.pdf" rel="nofollow"><strong>less than 10% of corporate income taxes</strong></a>, according to the European Commission.</p><h3>How the EU can make and unmake inequality</h3><p>Inequality is a purely human-driven process. So, the good news is that what was made can be unmade.</p><p>The EU has a leading role to play here. The tax laws of EU countries have significant impacts on other countries, and especially on the poorest. EU states have already made some improvements, endorsing automatic exchange of information on tax issues, adopting anti-money laundering laws and adopting an EU blacklist of tax havens.</p><p>But it is not addressing the elephant in the room: <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/bp-opening-vaults-banks-tax-havens-270317-en_0.pdf" rel="nofollow"><strong>tax havens within the EU itself</strong></a> and Europe’s own harmful tax practices. If it is serious about reducing inequality, the EU must also look at its own member states and take measures to fight tax havens within the EU.</p><p><img alt="Tax transparency cartoon" title="Tax transparency cartoon" height="1507" width="2000" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/tax-transparency-cartoon.jpg" /></p><h3>EU transparency laws can make policies work better for development</h3><p>The EU’s policies must be coherent with its development objectives. When wealth is disproportionally transferred from developing countries to EU countries thanks to loopholes that allow companies to avoid taxes, it threatens the actual development of those regions. The EU is giving aid, but at the same time is allowing corporations to take much-needed funds from poor countries.</p><p>It is the national EU finance ministers who can end that scandal, by implementing a key reform that would require multinationals to disclose where they make profit and where they pay taxes. That would ensure both EU and developing countries get their fair share of tax revenues. A proposal has been on the table since the Panama Papers broke, but some EU member states are resisting it.</p><p>If we want to live in a world free from the inequality that affects so many lives, collecting taxes fairly is key. It’s time Europe stopped making the inequality crisis worse, and started acted on solutions.</p><p><em>This entry posted by Aurore Chardonnet (<span><span><a href="http://twitter.com/AuroChardon" rel="nofollow"><span><span>@</span><span>AuroChardon</span></span></a></span></span>), Oxfam’s EU Policy Advisor on tax and inequality, and Nina Monjean (<a href="http://twitter.com/Ninamonj" rel="nofollow">@Ninamonj)</a>, EU Policy Assistant, on 26 January 2018.</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>How to end the inequality crisis? More tax justice</h2></div> Fri, 26 Jan 2018 14:43:08 +0000 Guest Blogger 81373 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/81373#comments Why tax dodging is a human rights issue http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/81308 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Last week in the wake of the Paradise Papers scandal we saw how <a href="https://views-voices.oxfam.org.uk/inequality/tax/2017/11/cracking-down-on-tax-dodging" rel="nofollow">tax dodging deprives already deprived people</a> of basic services like access to water, education and healthcare. But, how does tax affect human rights? Here, Alex May argues that tax dodging can also be seen as a human rights violation.</strong></p><h3>What is tax dodging?</h3><p>Corporations and wealthy people dodge a lot of tax, whether that is by moving money offshore and out of one tax jurisdiction into another where they will pay less in tax, or through <a href="http://www.taxjustice.net/topics/corporate-tax/transfer-pricing/" rel="nofollow">transfer (mis)pricing </a>whereby the value of goods exchanged is mis-represented, or by making deals with governments to pay less tax.</p><p>It is understandable to want to pay less tax. <strong>‘Tax avoidance’</strong> is the term for legal (at least technically legal) reductions of tax liabilities.<strong> ‘Tax evasion’</strong> describes the illegal (and usually also deeply immoral) version of breaking the law to not pay tax. This distinction is messy and unclear, and just because something is technically lawful does not make it fair or ethically acceptable, especially given imbalances of power in negotiating tax deals.</p><p>The International Bar Association’s report on <a href="https://www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=4A0CF930-A0D1-4784-8D09-F588DCDDFEA4" rel="nofollow">Tax Abuses, Poverty and Human Rights</a> talks of ‘tax abuses’. This recognizes that particularly aggressive tax avoidance, while technically lawful, is nonetheless morally wrong. One of the companies implicated in the Paradise Papers, <a href="https://www.applebyglobal.com/media-statements/appleby-reaction-to-media-coverage.aspx" rel="nofollow">Appleby said</a> that they ‘are a law firm which advises clients on legitimate and lawful ways to conduct their business.’ But what about fair ways to conduct a business?</p><p>Business activity and other incomes should contribute fairly to society, not just leech from it.</p><h3>The role of the State: taxation and realizing human rights</h3><p><a href="http://www.christianaid.ie/images/tax-policy-is-human-rights-policy-alston-philip.pdf" rel="nofollow">Tax policy is human rights policy</a>. Tax is not just an economic issue of GDP and deficits, but also about public services and redistribution. A human rights approach helps to bring the moral dimension clearly to the surface, as part of an internationally recognized framework.</p><p><strong>States have an obligation</strong> under the <a href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CESCR.aspx" rel="nofollow">Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights</a> to work towards greater realisation of human rights. The rights under this convention include an adequate standard of living, education, housing, food, healthcare and cultural activities. Unfortunately, Western culture tends to focus on civil and political rights and overlook the other aspects of human rights.</p><p>Article 2(1) says that states must take steps, ‘to the maximum of [their] available resources’, to achieve progressively the full realization of the recognized human rights. This is a strong obligation, although it includes the recognition that it is a process over time. The achievement of most economic and social rights requires significant resources, so the amount of tax income available to governments affects how much this can be done.</p><p><strong>Tax policies can be assessed</strong> by the ‘maximum available resources’ standard: is the state doing the best it can to realize human rights, or is it giving tax breaks to corporations and the rich while cutting public services? The <a href="http://docstore.ohchr.org/SelfServices/FilesHandler.ashx?enc=4slQ6QSmlBEDzFEovLCuW3XRinAE8KCBFoqOHNz%2FvuCC%2BTxEKAI18bzE0UtfQhJkxxOSGuoMUxHGypYLjNFkwxnMR6GmqogLJF8BzscMe9zpGfTXBkZ4pEaigi44xqiL" rel="nofollow">UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights</a> commented on the UK’s tax policy in 2016, as part of the periodic review under the Convention. It expressed concern over the adverse impact that tax changes, such as reducing corporation tax and increasing VAT, had on the UK’s ‘ability to address persistent social inequality and to collect sufficient resources to achieve the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights for the benefit of disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups.’</p><p>As well as the general tax policy, we can also ask whether the State’s actions to tackle tax evasion and tax avoidance are sufficient to count as ‘maximum available resources’.</p><h3>Business and human rights</h3><p>Business enterprises also have a responsibility to respect human rights. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) make it explicit: ‘Business Enterprises should respect Human Rights’ (Article 11).</p><p>Though not legally binding, it is an international instrument which has been endorsed by the UN Human Rights council. This is a significant recognition of the moral responsibilities which corporations have.</p><p><strong>The responsibility to respect human rights</strong> is a ‘do no harm’ responsibility to not infringe upon the human rights of others or do things which have ‘adverse human rights impacts’.</p><p>By depriving states of tax revenues which they ought to have, tax abuses infringe on the human rights of those who would and should have benefited. The question remains of how much tax this is. The <a href="http://www.oecd.org/investment/mne/1903291.pdf" rel="nofollow">OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises</a> are helpful here: they say that enterprises should comply with ‘both the letter and spirit of the tax laws’. Complying with the spirit of the law means ‘<a href="http://acts.oecd.org/Instruments/ShowInstrumentView.aspx?InstrumentID=241&amp;Lang=en&amp;Book=False" rel="nofollow">discerning and following the intention of the legislature</a>’. This shifts us away from technical legality to look at whether the tax system is being abused.</p><p>Arguments based on human rights can also be made which go beyond the UNGP’s ‘do no harm’ approach. Once we look at moral obligations it ought not be uncontroversial to say that corporations should pay a fair share of tax in every country in which they benefit from economic activity. What a ‘fair share’ amounts to is open to debate, but in many cases may well be higher than the amount required by law.</p><p><em>This entry posted on 21 November 2017, by Alex May, a freelance researcher, activist and writer. He has previously interned for Oxfam and worked as a research consultant on Business and Human Rights issues.<br></em></p><h3>What you can do now</h3><p><strong>Share this film:</strong><em><br></em></p><p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rYIhuREYEIQ?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0"></iframe></p><p><strong>Find out &gt; <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/even-it/paradise-papers-hidden-costs-tax-dodging" rel="nofollow">What are the Paradise Papers?</a><br></strong></p><p><strong>Read the report &gt; <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/stopping-scandals-five-ways-governments-can-end-tax-avoidance" rel="nofollow">Stopping the Scandals: five ways governments can end tax avoidance</a></strong></p><p><strong>Act now &gt; <a href="http://endtaxhavensnow.org" rel="nofollow">Join the movement to End Tax Havens</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Why tax dodging is a human rights issue</h2></div> Tue, 21 Nov 2017 16:09:47 +0000 Guest Blogger 81308 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/81308#comments Paradise Papers exposes feeble political attempts to end tax havens http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/81276 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Another year, another scandal.</strong></p> <p>First came <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxembourg_Leaks">#LuxLeaks</a>, then <a href="https://panamapapers.icij.org/">#PanamaPapers</a>. Today, reporters all over the world are covering the <a href="https://www.icij.org/investigations/paradise-papers/">Paradise Papers</a>, based on leaked documents from yet another offshore tax firm, showing how international corporations and billionaires hide their fortunes and avoid paying taxes.</p> <p>Why is Oxfam campaigning on this at all? For one simple reason -- the money sitting in these tax havens could be used to fund schools, hospitals, and help people escape poverty.</p> <p><a href="http://endtaxhavensnow.org"><strong>Join the movement to End Tax Havens</strong></a></p> <h3>Tax, poverty, inequality</h3> <p>This is about more than just basic fairness. This kind of tax dodging causes very real damage.</p> <p>Corporate tax dodging alone costs poor countries at least $100 billion every year - enough money to provide an education for 124 million children and prevent the deaths of at least six million children.</p> <p>Many of the companies and individuals involved in these scandals defend themselves by saying, “but this wasn’t illegal!”</p> <p>That’s a big part of the problem.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr" xml:lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ParadisePapers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ParadisePapers</a> Corporate tax dodging costs poor countries at least $100bn est every year. Time to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EndTaxHavens?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EndTaxHavens</a>→ <a href="https://t.co/comlRnuOnE">https://t.co/comlRnuOnE</a> <a href="https://t.co/TQSdR1iPxk">pic.twitter.com/TQSdR1iPxk</a></p> <p>— Oxfam International (@Oxfam) <a href="https://twitter.com/Oxfam/status/927257993971937280?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 5, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async="" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><h3>The tax system benefits the rich</h3> <p>In too many places, tax codes are purposefully riddled with loopholes to benefit the wealthiest. Super-rich corporations and individuals spend millions of dollars lobbying to make sure that their fortunes stay safe.</p> <p>Just look at the current tax reforms <a href="https://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2017/11/3-reasons-not-to-get-on-board-with-the-new-house-tax-bill/">under debate right now</a> in the United States. The plan would create new incentives for companies to stash even more funds in tax havens, starving government agencies of badly-needed funds to help the poorest. It’s Robin Hood in reverse.</p> <p>The other part of the problem is the so-called “race to the bottom,” where countries take turns slashing corporate tax rates and offering incentives in a frenzied bid to attract investment.</p> <p>The truth is, corporate taxes are lower than they’ve been in decades in many countries. The average rate across G20 countries was 40 percent in 1990; today, it’s less than 30.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr" xml:lang="en">"Outraged at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ParadisePapers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ParadisePapers</a> tax scandal? Join the movement to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EndTaxHavens?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EndTaxHavens</a>!" <a href="https://twitter.com/Winnie_Byanyima?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Winnie_Byanyima</a> <a href="https://t.co/comlRnuOnE">https://t.co/comlRnuOnE</a> <a href="https://t.co/zEFUNWZLHm">pic.twitter.com/zEFUNWZLHm</a></p> <p>— Oxfam International (@Oxfam) <a href="https://twitter.com/Oxfam/status/927536408776060928?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 6, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async="" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><h3>So where do we go from here?</h3> <p>One thing’s clear — the “fixes” that have been tried barely scratch the surface of the problem.</p> <p>The OECD and the G20 have promoted the <a href="http://www.oecd.org/tax/beps/">“BEPS” tax reforms</a>, and have managed to persuade more than 100 countries to sign on. This process though does little to prevent the use of tax havens, and limits how much poor countries can get out of the process.</p> <p>Furthermore, the <a href="https://www.taxjustice.net/2017/06/28/empty-oecd-tax-haven-blacklist-undermines-progress/">“blacklist” of tax havens</a> that these two organizations published earlier this year contained just one country on it - a sharp disconnect with the real picture that scandals like this one paint.</p> <h3>Three key ways to End Tax Havens</h3> <p>Here are three things that need to happen to get to the root of the problem:</p> <ol><li><strong>We need a real blacklist</strong>, one based on objective, comprehensive criteria, and free from political interference. Listed countries should face stiff penalties.</li> <li><strong>To end tax secrecy, we need transparency</strong>. Governments should make multinational companies report publicly their financial information to see where they do business and where they pay taxes.  They should also establish a publicly-available, centralized register of companies, foundations and trusts, and we should know who their real owners are. This will make it easier to follow the money.</li> <li><strong>Finally, we need a second round of tax reforms</strong> to build on the BEPS process, but this time around, it should work in favor of all countries, and not just the wealthiest.</li> </ol><p>These changes take a lot of time and effort, but most importantly, they take political will.</p> <p>Otherwise, the super-rich will keep siphoning billions of dollars away from our homes and into their offshore accounts.</p> <p><em>This entry posted by Simon Hernandez-Arthur, Oxfam Media Officer, on 5 November 2017.</em></p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="http://endtaxhavensnow.org"><strong>Join the movement to End Tax Havens</strong></a></p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Paradise Papers exposes feeble political attempts to end tax havens</h2></div> Sun, 05 Nov 2017 18:17:09 +0000 Guest Blogger 81276 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/81276#comments The world’s worst tax havens are in a state of denial http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/73654 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Collecting tax is one of the key means by which governments are able to address poverty. Yet big business is dodging tax on an industrial scale, depriving governments across the globe of the money they need to invest in healthcare, education and job creation.</p> <p>Oxfam’s report, “<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-race-to-bottom-corporate-tax-121216-en.pdf" rel="nofollow">Tax Battles</a>,” launched earlier this week, exposes the world’s worst corporate tax havens and the damaging race to the bottom on corporate tax. Since publication, the role of corporate tax havens has been hotly debated and <a href="http://www.caribbean360.com/news/caribbean-three-slam-oxfam-tax-report" rel="nofollow">our research has been attacked</a> by many of the countries on the ‘world’s worst’ list. We have clearly hit a nerve.</p> <h3>World's worst tax havens</h3> <p>Our research, which was painstakingly compiled from a huge range of data sources and externally reviewed by a number of tax experts, is crystal clear why these 15 countries find themselves on the list of the world's worst tax havens.</p> <p>Many tax havens argue that we have not taken their commitment to increase transparency into account. Yet these commitments have been recognised where they have been made – our point is that these commitments are simply not enough.</p> <p>For instance, countries are not publishing details of the tax deals they make with corporates; and they do not require corporations to publish financial reports on every country in which they operate. Moreover it is clear transparency alone is not enough. Action is needed to address extreme corporate tax competition such as the provision of tax incentives if we are to end tax dodging and the damaging race to the bottom on corporate tax.</p> <h3>Commitment to transparency welcome, but...</h3> <p>Bermuda’s commitment to greater transparency is welcome but US multinationals still report a much larger proportion of profits in the country than would be expected given the size of their business operations there – the same can be said of Ireland, the Netherlands and Switzerland.  This huge gap between where companies pay their tax and where they do their business was one of the key measures in our index.</p> <p>The government of <a href="https://stluciatimes.com/2016/12/14/barbados-ranked-among-15-worst-tax-havens" rel="nofollow">Barbados stated</a> that Oxfam should be praising the country for lifting its people out of poverty rather than exposing it as a corporate tax haven. But as we explain in our report, for many countries, being a tax haven has not delivered prosperity. We are very interested in further discussion on how working towards a fairer, more sustainable and more diversified economy can benefit Barbados as well as other countries that are losing out because of corporate tax avoidance.  It is estimated that developing countries lose $100 billion a year because of corporate tax dodging. This is enough money to provide an education for the 124 million children who aren’t in school and fund healthcare interventions that could prevent the deaths of at least six million children every year.</p> <h3>Citizens demand a fairer tax system</h3> <p>Many tax havens also argue that corporate tax is a matter of national sovereignty. Yet many countries are not freely deciding tax policies and they are certainly not listening to demands from their citizens for a fairer tax system.</p> <p>Governments are under huge pressure from corporations to provide ever more generous corporate tax incentives and reduce corporate tax rates with little or no public debate. Across the world the sovereign ability of governments to decide to provide vital services like healthcare and education is curtailed as corporate tax revenues dwindle.</p> <p>If governments want to take back control they must respond to the concerns of their citizens, and cooperate and coordinate on tax to a far greater extent than they are doing at the moment.</p> <h3>Turning the tide</h3> <p>Oxfam is happy to engage in open and constructive discussions on the findings of the report with any government. Our report makes it clear that tax havens are the front runners in a global race to the bottom on corporate tax which has swept up countries around the globe.</p> <p>In an attempt to attract business, governments around the world are slashing corporate tax bills – damaging their own economies, and those of other countries in the process.</p> <p><strong>Oxfam is calling for all governments – including tax havens - to act now to:</strong></p> <ul><li>Improve tax transparency by requiring all multinational companies to publish financial reports for every country in which they operate, so it is clear what taxes companies are paying and where.</li> <li>Call for a new generation of international tax reforms aimed at putting a halt to the race to the bottom in corporate tax. Any new negotiation must include developing countries equally.</li> <li>Stop unfair and unproductive tax incentives and work together to set corporate tax at a level that is fair, progressive and contributes to the collective good.</li> </ul><h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="http://oxf.am/ZLSY" rel="nofollow"><strong>Add your voice to the call for tax justice</strong></a></p> <p><em>This entry posted by Max Lawson (<a href="https://twitter.com/maxlawsontin" rel="nofollow">@maxlawsontin</a>), Head of Policy for Oxfam's Even It Up Campaign, on 16 December 2016.</em></p> <p><img alt="The Netherlands, tax haven" title="The Netherlands, tax haven" height="601" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/tax_awards_02_en_netherlands_rect-final.jpg" /></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>The world’s worst tax havens are in a state of denial </h2></div> Fri, 16 Dec 2016 16:51:07 +0000 Max Lawson 73654 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/73654#comments Tax justice: Are the victims of inequality at the global table? http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/60877 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>Eric Kinaga, Oxfam Kenya’s Tax Justice Program Officer, highlights the fact that communities most affected by inequality and tax injustice in Kenya are still without a voice in the debate. Eric is blogging in support of <a href="https://storify.com/vrugg1/taxjustice-blogging-day" rel="nofollow">Tax Justice Blogging Day</a>, an international initiative of the EU-funded '<a href="https://europa.eu/eyd2015/en/tax-justice-together" rel="nofollow">Tax Justice Together</a>' project, a collaboration of 24 partner organizations across 16 EU countries and 3 in the Global South working together to put tax justice at the heart of the European agenda.</em></p> <p>I recently had the opportunity to visit Lopiding, a quiet and scenic village just outside Lokichogio in Turkana County, Kenya. My colleagues and I were here to conduct a baseline study for the Tax Justice program currently being run by Oxfam in Kenya with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland. The project is aimed at contributing to a more progressive, transparent and accountable tax mobilisation and expenditure regime that contributes to reduced inequality and improved quality of life for poor, vulnerable and marginalized women and young people in Kenya. It’s currently being implemented in Nairobi, Wajir and Turkana counties.</p> <p>Lopiding, located 95 kilometers away from Kakuma town sits at the bottom of a valley sandwiched between two hills that overlook South Sudan. The villagers there seemed quite hostile at first, but are actually very hospitable. I later came to realise that the hills that border them, over the years, have been used as a perfect hideout by the Toposa (an ethnic group from South Sudan), who besides the Pokot, are every Turkana’s worst nightmare, due to livestock raiding, which is usually very violent. They are the reason why the Turkanas living in Lopiding are cautious about who walks into their village for whatever reason. Luckily for us, we had no intention to take away their only remaining herd of goats.</p> <p>One of our first respondents, an old woman in her early seventies, was excited to participate in the baseline survey. She told us her name was Akiru and that she had just returned home from a county government food distribution program that happens once in every month. She had spent the entire morning walking back home from Kakuma. As we carried on with the interview, a dog came and quietly sat next to her. Ten minutes later, our conversation was suddenly interrupted by loud wails. Akiru was vainly trying to get on her feet, reaching for anything she could to throw at the dog which now sat a few metres away from us, crouched onto an old sack. It was feasting on her dry maize!</p> <p>Two things; First, dogs don’t eat dry maize. And two, people don’t eat GDP.</p> <h3>Rising economic growth is not being felt by most East African citizens</h3> <p>In July this year, a report by SID (<a href="http://www.sidint.net/" rel="nofollow">Society for International Development</a>) revealed that despite the narrative being peddled on the rising economic growth for East African countries over the last few years, little change is being felt by the average citizens living in these countries. As their economies have grown, so in fact did the inequality, leaving behind a wider gap between the rich and the poor; a gap that might take decades to fill. It is here that Akiru and millions of other Africans today rally behind what is now becoming a global clarion call – that <em>people don’t eat GDP</em>.</p> <p>As most governments today rally behind economic models dominated by free-market policies, which eventually undermines equitable revenue collection and bolsters inequality, the poor are left more exposed to manipulation than ever before. However, the most unfortunate thing is that the subject of inequality remains very high levelled, with only a few having discourse on this matter and unless we continue bringing more women like Akiru into this debate, it may never be inclusive.</p> <h3>Giving a platform and voice to young people and women</h3> <p>Fortunately, the <a href="https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs" rel="nofollow">SDG agenda</a> and <a href="http://www.un.org/esa/ffd/" rel="nofollow">Financing for Development</a> now put domestic resource mobilization at the heart of service delivery. They are giving a platform and a voice to young people and women like Akiru to participate in the structuring of their own models of governance. Proof of this is found in the enshrining of public participation as one of the constitutional pillars driving the <a href="http://kenyalaw.org/kl/index.php?id=398" rel="nofollow">Kenyan Constitution of 2010</a>. The objective of social contract is finally starting to gain wave across the African continent. As a result of this, communities are starting to question their places in the economic models adopted by their respective governments.</p> <p>The story of Akiru reminds us of the millions of women across the globe who live everyday staring at death and are resigned to silence and indifference by the misery that abides around them, leaving them in constant motion; running away from hunger by day and from the Toposa by night.</p> <p><strong>If the war on inequality is to be won</strong>, then we must ensure that the ‘Akirus’ of this world are empowered to take up their rightful spaces in this campaign, so as to call out for more equal and inclusive governance models. This world belongs to them equally.</p> <p><em>This entry posted by Eric Kinaga, Tax Justice Program Officer, Oxfam in Kenya, on 7 September 2016.</em></p> <p><em>Photo: Pupils at Reuben Baptist primary in Mukuru informal settlements, Nairobi, Kenya. Enrollment and attendance in the school has improved since the installation of fresh life toilets. Credit: Allan Gichigi/Oxfam</em></p> <p>Tax dodging keeps making headlines across the world. Today, campaigners and activists across the world share their stories about why they are taking on the fight for <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23taxjustice&amp;src=typd" rel="nofollow">#taxjustice</a>. Please share this blog, or the graphic below.</p> <p><img alt="#TaxJustice blogging day - 7th September 2016" title="#TaxJustice blogging day - 7th September 2016" height="1200" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/tax-justice_facebook-final.jpg" /></p> <p> </p> <p> </p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Tax justice: Are the victims of inequality at the global table?</h2></div> Wed, 07 Sep 2016 07:39:42 +0000 Guest Blogger 60877 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/60877#comments SwissLeaks: Why Corporate Tax Scandals Won’t Go Away http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/37603 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>One year ago today, a team of <a href="http://www.icij.org/project/swiss-leaks/explore-swiss-leaks-data" rel="nofollow"><strong>international journalists published</strong></a> details of hundreds of secret bank accounts held by a motley crew of wealthy individuals in the <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/15-02-11-breaking-cycle-how-europe-can-stop-industrial-tax-dodging"><strong>Swiss banking arm of the HSBC</strong></a>.  Altogether the accounts were hiding more than $100 billion out of the sight of tax authorities.</p> <p>$100 billion sat idle while sluggish economies around the world were – and still are - desperate for productive investment. If tax were paid on the income that this hidden wealth generated, millions of dollars more would have been available to governments for vital public services like schools and hospitals, or medical research and infrastructure investment. For example, the SwissLeaks scandal revealed that wealthy Latin-American residents amassed over $52 billion in these secret bank accounts between 2006 and 2007. This is equivalent to 26 per cent of the region’s total public spending on health.</p> <p>The scandal made <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/feb/09/hsbc-files-bank-swiss-arm-tax-international-response" rel="nofollow"><strong>headlines</strong></a> around the globe but it was not the first – and it has not been the last by a long stretch.  With every new scandal politicians line up to express their outrage.  Yet despite their rhetoric they have still not taken the action needed to stop - or criminalize - the schemes accountants and wealth managers’ use to reduce their wealthy clients’ tax bills.</p> <p>Some of these schemes are illegal – but many are perfectly legal under current global tax laws. Both result in governments being cheated out of tax revenues.  Unless governments change the rules - and their attitudes - to corporate tax abuse, these scandals will never go away.</p> <p>For example, US-based digital corporate giant Google has been at the centre of a media storm for the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jan/29/googles-tax-deal-with-the-uk-key-questions-answered-chancellor-taxes" rel="nofollow"><strong>£130m tax deal</strong></a> it recently agreed with the UK revenue service. The deal means Google paid just £200 million in tax on the estimated £7.2 billion it made in profits in the UK since 2005. Google used the so-called double Irish and Dutch sandwich <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Irish_arrangement" rel="nofollow"><strong>tax avoidance scheme</strong></a>, whereby profits are routed first through an Irish subsidiary company, then to a Dutch subsidiary company and finally to a second Irish company headquartered in a recognized tax haven – in this case Bermuda. As Google points out, this is legal under UK law and permissible under international tax rules. Google is not alone in the manner in which it manages its tax affairs.</p> <p><strong>Why are governments so reluctant to take the tough action needed on the world’s most prolific tax dodgers? </strong></p> <p>In May 2014, Oxfam released <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/business-among-friends" rel="nofollow"><strong>Business among Friends: Why corporate tax dodgers are not yet losing sleep over tax reforms</strong></a>, which critically appraises international efforts to clamp down on corporate tax dodging. The paper argues that international corporate tax rules are rigged in favour of commercial interests who successfully pursue their agenda at the cost of the public interest. Big corporations use their vast resources to   lobby governments on issues and policies that affect their business interests.</p> <p>While it would be misplaced to suggest that corporates should not have a voice on the issues concerning them, the excessive influence they now wield is undermining our democratic institutions and skewing government policy-making in their favour. This is happening at the cost of the very people who these same governments are supposed to represent.  </p> <p>For example, in the second quarter of 2015, <a href="http://www.wired.com/2015/07/google-facebook-amazon-lobbying/" rel="nofollow"><strong>Google spent a whopping $4.62 million on lobbying efforts</strong></a> across the range of its policy interests, including international taxation. More generally, the most prolific lobbying activities in the US are on <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/wealth-having-it-all-and-wanting-more" rel="nofollow"><strong>budget and tax issues</strong></a>; public resources that should be directed to benefit the whole population, rather than reflect the interests of powerful lobbyists.</p> <p>In the international arena, Oxfam has long been concerned about the unjustifiable and disproportionate influence that powerful business interests have on OECD member governments’ tax policy making, particularly when compared to the lack of influence wielded by poor countries.</p> <p><strong>While all countries suffer because of corporate tax dodging</strong>, poorer economies are hit hardest because corporate tax revenues comprise a higher proportion of their national income.  Yet the majority of developing countries have not been allowed an equal say in decisions on international taxation. They have to work within the system created and agreed by rich governments, because they are not members of the G20, or OECD, which lead key international negotiations on tax rules.</p> <p>A consequence of governments working to promote vested interests is large-scale tax dodgers acting with seeming impunity, and corporates using tax havens as entirely common place.  Nine out of ten of the world’s biggest companies have a presence in at least one tax haven. Meanwhile, corporate investment in tax havens almost quadrupled between 2000 and 2014.</p> <p><strong>However there are signs this could all change.  </strong></p> <p>High profile publicity surrounding tax scandals and the public outrage that has followed indicates that how a company manages its tax affairs carries a real reputational risk. Companies are beginning to realise they need to win back the trust of their customers and investors.</p> <p>Companies must re-conceive their tax responsibilities and, as with many issues of corporate social responsibility, values must shape their behaviour. They need to start embracing ‘<a href="http://community.businessfightspoverty.org/profiles/blogs/responsible-tax-behaviour-an-opportunity-for-companies-to-reverse" rel="nofollow"><strong>responsibility beyond legal compliance</strong></a>,’ and ensure that their conduct on tax reflects their broader duties to contribute to the public good that enable the development of the type of societies in which profitable, sustainable companies can thrive.</p> <p>In a <a href="http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/getting-to-good-towards-responsible-corporate-tax-behaviour-582243" rel="nofollow"><strong>recent paper</strong></a>, Oxfam, ActionAid and Christian Aid suggested actions that companies can take. For example, companies could publish country-by-country reports before being legally required to do so; or publish a comprehensive tax strategy that is linked to corporate responsibility (or sustainability) strategy.</p> <p>Companies must also “preach what they practice”. If they are truly responsible companies, they should ensure that their lobbying positions are in line their corporate responsibility positions. On taxation, this means they should support global efforts to make tax rules more progressive and fair – and not work to undermine them.</p> <p><strong>Ultimately it is the responsibility of governments</strong> to show leadership and greater fortitude in protecting the public interest against large-scale tax abuse by creating fair and consistent global tax rules. <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03h3f12" rel="nofollow"><strong>Even Google say international tax systems need reform</strong></a>.  </p> <p>How these reforms are made is of critical importance. Tax reform is not is not just a rich country issue. Negotiations at the UN’s Financing for Development Conference in Addis last year went to the wire with an astonishing final stand-off between rich and poor countries  on the creation of a global tax body that would give all countries - not just the rich and powerful - an equal say in how the global rules on taxation are designed.</p> <p>The battle became as much about the demand for systemic change and a shift in political governance to address the power imbalance as the creation of the body itself.</p> <p><strong>Developing countries lose around US$100bn in tax revenues each year</strong> as a result of corporate tax avoidance schemes that route investments through tax havens. This does not include the full set of tax avoidance schemes used by multinational companies nor the billions of dollars that corporations gain because of overly generous tax incentives.</p> <p>The global tax system is now designed to pit countries against each other in a race to the bottom on corporate taxation. Consequently, the offshore economy has been allowed to grow two-and-a-half times faster than global GDP from 2000-14.  But it is not only the poorest countries that lose out to corporate tax dodging; all citizens around the world are losing out. In 2012, <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/still-broken-governments-must-do-more-fix-international-corporate-tax-system" rel="nofollow"><strong>US multinationals alone shifted $500–700bn</strong></a>, or roughly 25 percent of their annual profits, mostly to countries where these profits are not taxed, or taxed at very low rates. Among the biggest losers in the G20 are the US, UK, Germany, Japan, France, Mexico, India, and Spain.</p> <p><strong>All governments must take action</strong> to end the ‘race to the bottom’ that encourages developing countries to compete with each other to offer the lowest tax environment, driven by harmful and preferential tax regimes. This must include tackling the role of tax havens, for which there are currently no reform plans. In 1998, the OECD’s Harmful Tax Competition report proposed that ‘countries consider terminating their tax conventions with tax havens’. Unfortunately, OECD member countries that operate as tax havens, together with other powerful members, succeeded in blocking further progress on the report’s findings and recommendations.</p> <p>Putting a stop to the seemingly endless stream of corporate tax scandals is possible but it will require a new generation of more fundamental reforms than are on the table at the moment; and a rebalancing of power in global tax negotiations. The creation of a new global tax body that includes all governments on an equal footing would go a long way to redressing this balance and delivering deeper reforms that are so desperately needed for the benefit of all.</p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="http://oxf.am/Znzm" rel="nofollow"><strong>Join the global movement to #EndTaxHavens</strong></a></p> <p><strong>Share this story of how tax havens are robbing the poor in Malawi:</strong></p> <p></p> <p><em>This entry posted by Claire Godfrey, Oxfam Global Policy Lead, Even it Up Campaign, on 8 February 2016.</em></p> <p> </p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>SwissLeaks: Why Corporate Tax Scandals Won’t Go Away</h2></div> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 12:12:11 +0000 Claire Godfrey 37603 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/37603#comments Tax Justice is a Human Rights Issue http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/36161 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam</strong></a> and <a href="http://www.taxjustice.net/" rel="nofollow"><strong>Tax Justice Network</strong></a> are today launching an <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/taxessay" rel="nofollow"><strong>essay competition on tax justice and human rights</strong></a>.</p> <p>The competition invites both practitioners and students from around the world to explore ways in which governments of developing countries and/or civil society in any country can use existing laws to protect human rights in the face of tax injustice.</p> <p><strong>Tax evasion and avoidance within and across borders</strong> deprive <a href="http://www.taxjustice.net/topics/inequality-democracy/aid-tax-state-building/" rel="nofollow"><strong>governments</strong></a> of the revenue they need to fulfil their human rights commitments, and in particular their obligation to progressively realize economic and social rights such as the rights to health, education and housing.</p> <p>Inequitable tax policies and practices have perpetuated inequalities of all kinds and place a disproportionate <a href="http://www.taxjustice.net/2015/05/14/tax-justice-focus-the-gender-edition/" rel="nofollow"><strong>burden on women</strong></a> and others facing systemic discrimination.</p> <p>Unaccountable tax regimes and secrecy jurisdictions protect the privileges of economic elites at the expense of the people’s right to information and participation in fiscal decision-making, while those who speak out against tax injustice and on occasion blow the whistle on the abusive tax practices of their employers are made <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/23/prosecution-source-luxleaks-tax-scandal-letter-luxembourg-auditor-antoine-deltour" rel="nofollow"><strong>targets of repression</strong></a>.</p> <p>For all the above reasons,<strong> tax is beginning to be recognized as a critical human rights issue</strong> by many within the tax justice and human rights communities.</p> <p>In April 2015 human rights and tax justice organizations, scholars and activists convened in Lima to explore new perspectives set out in the Lima Declaration. Addressing that meeting, Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, said:</p> <p><em>“At present, the bottom line is that most human rights specialists don’t appreciate the centrality of tax and the vast majority of tax specialists have very little idea about how human rights are relevant.”</em></p> <p><strong>Tax justice and human rights communities</strong> are already collaborating to explore innovative ways of converging ideas and possibilities for using legal challenge to confront abusive practices. This competition will play an important part in shaping this work in the coming years.</p> <p>Please read the details of the <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/taxessay" rel="nofollow"><strong>Tax Justice and Human Rights Essay Competition</strong></a>.</p> <p><strong>Deadline for submissions is 13th March 2016</strong>.</p> <p><em>This entry posted by Liz Nelson (@zilhen) on 26 January 2016. Liz is a director at Tax Justice Network and is developing TJN’s program of work on tax justice and human rights.</em></p> <p><em>Photo: Barbara Chinyeu (36), a widow in Zambia who risks her life every day to irrigate her crops and feed her two children. She lives in Chiawa, 105 miles south-east of Lusaka. It’s a rural area with few transport links, health centers, and employment opportunities. One of the reasons inequality in Zambia is so bad is because global tax rules allow multinational mining companies to generate vast profits from their operations in the country, while paying very little tax. Rural areas are extremely poor; there are very few jobs, inadequate health centers, schools, and roads. Lost revenue is desperately needed to improve infrastructure and invest in public services. Oxfam’s research has shown that this is one of the most effective ways of tackling extreme inequality. Credit: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam</em></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>Oxfam's latest report on inequality: <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/economy-1" rel="nofollow">An Economy for the 1%</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Tax Justice is a Human Rights Issue</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/16-01-26-la-justicia-fiscal-es-una-cuestion-de-derechos-humanos" title="La justicia fiscal es una cuestión de derechos humanos" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/16-01-26-concours-de-dissertation-sur-la-justice-fiscale-et-les-droits-humains" title="Concours de dissertation sur la justice fiscale et les droits humains" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Tue, 26 Jan 2016 07:38:56 +0000 Liz Nelson 36161 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/node/36161#comments