Christian charity defends $160bn ‘tax dodging’ claim (Tax Journal)

A leading charity’s claim that ‘tax dodging’ by multinationals costs developing countries an estimated US$160bn a year falls short of the standards that campaigners expect from companies, according to a tax expert.

Heather Self, a partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, was responding to articles published on the Daily Mail and Christian Aid websites. She told Tax Journal that Christian Aid had a ‘valid aim’ of helping poor countries collect more tax and rely less on aid. But she warned that ‘[Christian Aid’s] continuing use of unreliable and out of date figures, which exaggerate the extent to which behaviour by multinationals contributes to the problem, harms their case: they require transparency and accuracy from companies and should meet that standard themselves’. She added: ‘If reliable estimates are simply not available, they should acknowledge this.’

… Joseph Stead, Christian Aid’s senior economic justice adviser, told Tax Journal: ‘Christian Aid has discussed the provenance of the $160bn figure many times, including with Parliament on several occasions. While we do not deny, and have never denied, that more research would be good, we don’t believe that things have changed so much to invalidate the findings since we published our report. We have seen the G20 agree that the global tax system isn’t working, and the OECD admit that the problems are such that the issue is a threat to democracy. We have seen the OECD secretary general state that tax havens result in developing countries losing up to three times what they receive in aid.’

Read more at Tax Journal.