The Domini Social Equity Fund in the USA and its partners have submitted a shareholder proposal to Google for its annual meeting on May 14th urging it to rein in its tax abuses. There is a petition in support of this proposal.
The shareholder resolution, whose supporting documents contain a wealth of canny analysis, goes like this:
“Shareholders request the Board of Directors adopt a set of principles to address the impact of Google’s tax strategies on society, with particular focus on Google’s employees, customers and suppliers. In addition, the board should publish annual reports to shareholders, at reasonable cost, omitting proprietary information, discussing the implementation of these principles, beginning December 2014.
We recommend a vote FOR this proposal on the following grounds, for which we provide more detail below:
1. The proposal asks Google to establish principles guiding its approach to tax— this is not a vote on tax reform, or on how much tax Google should pay.
2. Corporate tax avoidance threatens economic growth and innovation.
3. Even if they are within the law, aggressive tax minimization approaches pose regulatory, reputational and financial risks.
4. Adoption of tax policy principles is a recommended responsible tax action.
5. Other companies have adopted tax policy principles.
6. Google’s tax strategy should be consistent with its stated objectives and policies on social and environmental sustainability.
It's hard to see what there could be to oppose in this but Google’s response looks like this:
NB: Thanks to Domini and TJN for links to this