Global momentum behind a shift towards country-by-country reporting by multinational companies is gaining pace. While OECD officials consider the pros and cons of adopting the proposed international standard, public campaigns are raising awareness and building support for this major step towards accounting transparency.
Norwegian Church Aid is the latest organisation to launch an online petition in favour of country-by-country reporting. Their petition draws attention to revenue losses of around $160 billion a year inflicted on poorer countries by the tax avoidance techniques of multinational companies, and contrast this with the $120 billion of aid flows funded by taxpayers in richer countries. As their petition says:
This year, the worlds largest companies owes the world poor 160 billion dollars in tax. By using tax havens and secrecy, companies avoids large tax sums when they operate in poorer countries. This is money which should be used for the benefit of the country. - I want to know that Norwegian companies don't cheat on the taxes in poorer countries.
A moment's reflection on how much that amount of tax revenue would contribute to the sustainable development of poorer countries underlines why country-by-country reporting by multinational companies is an idea whose time has come.
Hat tip to Tax Justice Network