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Submissions on proposed tax standards show overwhelming support for more corporate transparency

29 March 2019
Submissions on the Global Reporting Initiative’s proposed new tax Standards, made public today, show overwhelming support for increased corporate tax transparency, including from some of the largest institutional investors in the world.

The overwhelming majority of comments submitted, which come from a range of organisations including unions, church groups and pension funds, highlight the urgent need for governments to tackle corporate tax evasion and force multinationals to publicly declare their profits, country-by-country.

Investment companies participating in the consultation collectively managing assets worth more than $2.5 trillion USD, and organisations representing investors indirectly managing over $10 trillion USD, supported proposals for greater tax transparency.

Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary, stated:

“The ease with which multinational corporations avoid their tax obligations is creating public anger, straining our public services and fuelling right-wing populist politics”. 

“Corporate tax avoidance starves public services and drives up inequality. Yet the public are denied any meaningful information about the extent of the problem. In the absence of an informed debate people look for who is responsible: migrants, refugees, unemployed and minorities become easy targets.”  

“The breadth and number of comments to this consultation shows that people are concerned about corporate tax transparency. The GRI is to be commended for its leadership in tackling this issue” she said.

“It says everything about the stranglehold corporate interests have over the tax debate when even voluntary disclosures are resisted. The OECD, EU governments and the US government should show workers whose side they are on and make public country-by-country reporting mandatory.” 

The Global Reporting Initiative (known as GRI) is an international independent standards organization that helps develop reporting guidelines for businesses, governments and other organizations.

In 2017, the GRI's Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB) initiated a project to develop new disclosures related to tax and payments to governments, which will be considered for incorporation into the GRI Standards.

The aim of this work is to help promote greater transparency on a reporting organization’s approach to taxes. Making tax data more widely accessible will help build stakeholder trust and contribute to better-informed policy and investment decisions.

If passed, the new reporting standards would be a powerful tool in the demand for a more transparent global corproate tax system.

Chairwoman of the GSSB Judy Kuszewski, said:

We are pleased that investment organizations have been so strongly engaged in this process, with the largest grouping of responses coming from investors. This demonstrates just how strong the demand is for reliable data on tax reporting and its relevance to investors and their decision-making.

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