Businesses urged to view tax ‘through a human rights lens’

Governments do not always spend tax revenues well, but that does not deflect from the reality that developing countries can meet basic needs on a sustainable basis only if their economies are underpinned by a sustainable tax base, ActionAid’s senior advocacy adviser, Ewan Livingston, told participants at a debate on “Ethical Businesses and the Moral Responsibility of Tax.”

Livingston said the purpose of the tax work done by ActionAid and other nongovernmental organisations is to try to “ensure that developing countries collect their fair share of tax revenue in order that they can do . . . things that are morally right, [including] fighting crippling poverty; educating all children, including girls; and providing health care for the sick.”

“These are basic human rights, so I’d encourage businesses to view tax through a human rights lens,” he said.

The May 24 debate, hosted in London by JustShare, a coalition of churches and charities, was also attended by Will Morris of PwC and Janine Juggins of Unilever. Read more:

My news story for Tax Analysts, June 9 (paywall)