G20 MEETS TO ACT ON CORPORATE TAXES – BUT MORE NEEDED ON CORRUPTION
by Frank Vogl on 18 September 2014
The often highly complicated approaches used by giant corporations to lower their tax bills will be under attack at this weekend’s key meeting of finance ministers of the Group of 20 most powerful nations in Cairns, Australia.
The G20 is expected to act to end systems where companies like Apple,Amazon, Starbucks and many others can take advantage of very low tax rates in countries like Ireland and the Netherlands, while avoiding high tax bills in countries where they have very large sales, such as the United States and the United Kingdom. The G20 is acting because there has been large-scale public outrage over tax avoidance by multinational corporations.
The G20 should not confine itself to these questionable, albeit legal, schemes deployed by international companies. The finance ministers need to pursue a major assault on illegal activities, notably the payment of bribes by companies to foreign government officials and money-laundering.
The G20 has taken some steps in this direction with the formulation of an “Anti-Corruption Action Plan” but much more needs to be done. Campaigning by Transparency International and many others is seeking to encourage the finance ministers this weekend to promote a powerful anti-corruption and anti-money laundering set of actions that can be agreed on at the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia, in November.