Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Activists around the world are taking on tax dodging as a threat to economic development in poor countries and to society in general in all countries. I write about the movement and its prospects for involving NGOs and other non-business civil society groups into the rarefied world of international tax policymaking in my latest paper, Tax Activists and the Global Movement for Development Through Transparency. In the paper I explore how the rise of concern about tax avoidance, especially by multinational companies, came about, and how the elite tax policy community is reacting to it (not particularly well). Tax avoidance has been a staple of entity-level planning ever since we have had an income tax, and tax havens have existed for decades with tacit acceptance by governments. It is only in the last decade or so that you could say a "movement" to bring multinational taxation to the public discourse as a matter of social justice began. What happened to get the ball rolling and what turned it into a sustained force capable of disrupting the status quo? The paper traces the movement and how it is faring as a means of contesting the established policymaking order. If you're interested in the extractive industries transparency movement, country-by-country reporting, how tax connects to economic development, or how the OECD manages international tax discourse, you'll find the paper of interest. It is forthcoming as a chapter in a book on tax law and development, edited by Miranda Stewart and Yariv Brauner.