Secrecy allowed by rich countries allows corporations to dodge $90 billion in taxes a year
An analysis released on Tuesday reveals that rich countries allow multinationals to dodge at least $89 billion in taxes each year by not requiring companies to publicly disclose how much of their profits they transfer to tax havens.
The Tax Justice Network’s latest assessment of the state of global taxation blasts the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – often described as ‘the club of rich countries’ – for failing to meet basic standards in tax transparency in the decade since the G20 ordered OECD countries to collect and disclose country-by-country data on corporate profit shifting.
“Our message to governments is clear: stop the cover-up to raise living standards.”
“Rather than requiring multinational corporations to make their country-by-country reports publicly available,” noted the Tax Justice Network, “the OECD allowed multinational corporations to disclose their reports privately to their governments. , who were then required to anonymize the reports before sharing them with the OECD who would then aggregate and share the data with the public.”
“The OECD has so far only published anonymised aggregates of these reports twice, in 2020 for data collected in 2016 and in 2021 for data from 2017,” the group added. “The OECD did not release the last set of anonymised data in July this year, which would have consisted of data collected in 2018.”
In its 2021 report, the Tax Justice Network estimated that governments around the world are losing more than $483 billion a year in revenue to multinational corporations and wealthy individuals transferring money to tax havens.
Due to the failure of OECD countries this year to release country-by-country tax data, which is meant to help uncover and deter corporate tax avoidance, the Tax Justice Network has been unable to to release new estimates as countries face a global cost of living. crisis – on how much tax governments are losing to global tax abuses by multinational corporations and the super-rich,” the group laments in its new report.
However, the Tax Justice Network was able to “assess the overall cost of the OECD’s failure to meet the G20’s country-by-country reporting mandate”.
“Based on the strongest available estimates of increased tax payments from multinational corporations that have been required to hold themselves more accountable by publishing their country-by-country reports, we conservatively estimate that cross-border corporate tax abuse would have could have been reduced by $89 billion in the last year of available data,” the report said. “This reduction would have represented 28% of the $312 billion we reported was lost to cross-border tax abuse companies over the last year of available data.”
Rachel Etter-Phoya, senior researcher at the Tax Justice Network, said in a statement that “the OECD’s concession to corporate tax abuse is a policy choice to turn a blind eye.”
“Our governments encourage us to talk about making ‘tough decisions’ to deal with the global cost of living crisis, then choose to remain silent about multinational corporations who have privately confessed to defrauding the public out of billions of dollars. ‘taxes,’ Etter-Phoya continued. . “They choose to protect the icing on the cake from the wealthiest corporations while people worry about putting food on the table.”
“Our message to governments is clear: stop the cover-up to raise living standards,” Etter-Phoya added.
Alex Cobham, the head of the Tax Justice Network, amplified that call with an open letter to G20 leaders as they gather in Indonesia for their annual summit.
“By designing the [corporate] concession of anonymity in its standard, the OECD has failed governments around the world and cost them billions of dollars in revenue every year,” Cobham wrote. public good of country-by-country reporting, and on providing a forum for tax rule-making that is inclusive or effective.”
“We now call on the G20 to bring this global public good to the fore of democracy at the UN by supporting the G77 and Africa Group resolutions; calling on the UN tax committee to take responsibility for the data of country-by-country reporting and/or supporting the creation of the Tax Rights Monitoring Center through a United Nations tax treaty; and supporting the creation of a truly inclusive intergovernmental tax body under the auspices of the United Nations” , Cobham added.