Getting multinational companies to pay the taxes they owe would generate billions in funding for sustainable development, campaigners told delegates at the Rio+20 conference.
At a tax justice event in the Rio Centro hosting the negotiations, speakers will highlight how Governments are currently losing vast sums every year to tax dodging by multinationals, with poor countries and people living in poverty worst hit.
Christian Aid estimates that developing countries alone lose $160 billion a year to the problem – far more than they receive in aid.
‘Simply getting multinational companies to pay the taxes they owe developing countries would generate billions more for life-changing initiatives such as sustainable energy for all,’ said Dr Alison Doig, Christian Aid’s Senior Adviser on Sustainable Development.
‘There are many ways in which the corporate sector can contribute to a fairer, more sustainable world, and paying the right amount of tax is clearly one of them.
‘The latest text here in Rio speaks of the need to mobilise ”adequate financial resources” to achieve universal access to clean energy – but it is completely silent on where the money might come from. Getting multinationals to pay their taxes is an obvious place to start.’
Dr Doig’s comments came before today’s tax justice event organized by Christian Aid today in at the Rio Centro convention centre. (The event will be in room T6 from 3.30 until 5pm.)
Speakers will explain why tax dodging is currently so easy – and what needs to be done to tackle it and generate resources for sustainable development.
They are Richard Howitt, a UK MEP who is European Parliament Rapporteur on Corporate Social Responsibility, Michelle Pressend of Economic Justice Network South Africa, Luis Moreno of Jubileo Peru and Latindadd, Lucidio Bicalho Barbosa of INESC in Brazil.
Christian Aid is campaigning for action against the financial secrecy which helps unscrupulous companies and others to dodge tax.
Specifically, it wants multinational companies to be required to disclose more about their finances, including the taxes they pay and the profits they make in each country in which they operate. This would help tax authorities identify companies which appear to be dodging tax by artificially shifting their profits into tax havens.
The development agency is also calling for Governments to automatically share information with each other about who owns what within their borders, to make it more difficult for companies and individuals to hide their wealth and income offshore.