As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m launching a new conference on tax justice in London this Wednesday through International Tax Review magazine, so here’s one final shameless plug and an invitation to come and debate an issue which, I think, is one of the most important facing the world today.
It’s free to attend if you’re an activist or with an NGO and you’ll hear from a whole host of great speakers including former Secretary of State for International Development, Clare Short, and anti-poverty activist Richard Murphy. I would urge you to come and make your voice heard. Tax transparency is one of the biggest issues facing the developing world right now, and indeed our own public services as UK Uncut activists seeking to ensure multinational corporations pay their fair share of tax have shown.
Development agencies such as Christian Aid and ActionAid, which have long argued that poor countries lose more through tax avoidance than they receive in aid, are pushing for country-by-country reporting, a standard which is soon to become a reality for companies in the extractive industries. The NGOs argue that tax is not simply a legal issue, it is a moral one, and it is not enough that taxpayers remain within the letter of the law, rather they must adhere to its spirit. Most multinationals remain sceptical about country-by-country reporting, but where it was once a niche issue demanded only by hardened activists calling in from the cold, now it is something companies cannot afford to ignore.