Oxfam: UK government should crack-down on tax dodging

8 Nov 17

The UK government should take action to increase transparency and tackle tax dodging, which is costing the world’s poorest regions $170bn every year, Oxfam has said. 

The NGO called on the government to introduce public country-by-country reporting in the Budget, in a briefing paper released on Tuesday, following the Paradise Papers leak, which revealed how the individuals and corporations stashed their wealth in offshort 'tax havens'. 

Katy Chakrabortty, Oxfam’s head of advocacy, said: “Tax avoidance continues to deprive developing countries of billions that could be invested in healthcare, schools and fighting poverty as well as hurt ordinary taxpayers in rich countries like the UK.

“Millions of the world's poorest people are missing out on essential services that could save their lives and help them escape hardship.”

This comes after Chakrabortty spoke at a all-party parliamentary group on responsible tax on Monday in London, where she said the UK needs to “get ahead of the next scandal” and treat tax avoidance as a serious public policy issue. 

The UN has estimated corporate tax avoidance to cost developing countries at least $100bn a year and economist Gabriel Zucman has said the world’s poorest regions lose approximately $71bn annually to offshore tax avoidance by wealthy individuals.

The briefing paper set out four other policy measures to help ensure that countries can claim their “fair share” of revenue.

These include ensuring that public registers of company beneficial ownership is introduced, both in UK’s overseas territories and crown dependencies, that developing countries have access to tax and company data, and ensuring that corporate tax rules in the UK do not incentivise companies to avoid tax in developing countries. 

It also said the UK should show “international leadership on tackling tax avoidance”, including pushing for global tax reforms that include all countries and overcome flaws in initiatives such as BEPS.

Country-by-country reporting, under OECD’s base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) initiative, provides a template for multinationals to report annually for each tax jurisdiction in which they work.

Chakrabortty said: “The government should urgently drive forward tough action to tackle tax dodging, starting by making sure UK-based multinationals publish their tax payments in every country, and requiring UK-linked tax havens such as Bermuda to reveal the real owners of companies.”

She added: “Reforming tax rules isn’t easy but it is possible, and the government has previously said it is willing to lead on this issue. Any reasons for delay are completely outweighed by the compelling moral and practical case for action.” 

Did you enjoy this article?

Related articles

Have your say


CIPFA latest

Most popular

Related jobs

Most commented

Events & webinars