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Rising global tax scrutiny highlights the case for change

The increasing number of inquiries into the tax practices of corporations demonstrates why a transition towards transparent tax disclosure is urgently required.

This was a key message from Elise J Bean, former United States Senate tax investigator, as she addressed an event in London yesterday to highlight GRI’s launch of the world’s first country-by-country public reporting standard for tax. Governments around the world, including several EU countries and Australia, are currently reviewing the tax practices of multinationals.

The GRI Tax Standard responds to concerns over the impact corporate tax avoidance has on the ability of governments to fund services and support sustainable development. It is now available as the latest addition to the GRI Standards.

During 15 years with the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Bean handled high-profile investigations, hearings and legislation on tax avoidance, corporate misconduct and financial corruption. Setting out why global change is needed in support of tax transparency, she said:

“Corporate tax transparency is the next big sustainability task. In 2018, at least 90 hugely profitable US corporations paid no US tax at all – an outrage that is not sustainable morally or in light of the societal investments needed worldwide.  

Corporations want better infrastructure, an educated workforce, patent enforcement, trade protection, and more.  And some corporations impose enormous costs on society through environmental damage, worker injuries, financial fraud, or worse.  

Companies need to pay their fair share, and the new GRI Tax Standard will encourage responsible corporations to do just that. Not only because it’s the right thing to do but because it is in their self-interest to help provide the revenue needed to sustain the economy and restore public confidence in the business world.”

“For the first time, we have a global standard that can ensure companies demonstrate effectively how they contribute through taxes in each of the locations where they operate,” said Tim Mohin, GRI chief executive. “This crucial information is needed if we are to have a well-informed global debate about corporate tax practices.”

GRI 207: Tax 2019 is freely available for use by any organisation.


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