Time to bury the Oxford report

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Tax Justice Network: Time to bury the Oxford report.

The dispute with Oxford University's Said Business Scholl of Tax continues:

Professor Mike Devereux has a riposte in the FT:

The researchers involved are first-rate, independent academics. As is well known, the centre was initially funded with an endowment from the Hundred Group of companies. But contrary to the implication from the Tax Justice Network, the centre has always operated independently. Not once has the Hundred Group, or any other business group, sought to influence the centre's research.

The centre is now widely financed, and has received a substantial grant from the UK Economic and Social Research Council, after academic peer review. The specific report in question was commissioned and financed by the UK Department for International Development.

The report's criticism of existing work is intended to be constructive, rather than destructive. We find it disappointing that the Tax Justice Network seeks to spread innuendo about the messenger rather than to engage in constructive debate about the research. Those in developing countries deserve serious and balanced research on issues of tax evasion and avoidance.

He's right, but Oxford cannot supply it. Precisely becaause The 100 Group funded, as TJN notes to provide biased opinion. Take a look at this article in Accountancy Age, reporting on the centre’s aims from the outset:

“The culmination of this mission, he (Christopher Wales of Goldman Sachs) says, was the creation and launch of the Oxford University centre for business taxation (see box) on 4 November this year. Based at the Sa?Ød Business school and backed by £5m-worth of funding from the influential Hundred Group of Finance Directors, the centre has been set the goal of using academic weight, alongside HM Revenue & Customs and business expertise and assistance, to achieve a more competitive tax system for British businesses.”

That's not seeking objective, balanced or academic comment. That's right wing think tank land. And that's where Oxford is on this issue.

And that's no doubt why they found as they did in the report they produced, which as TJN reports (link at top) is so riddled with errors it needs to be almost entirely rewritten.

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