Companies active in corporate social responsibility also try to avoid paying taxes, says study

Author: Economist (UK), Published on: 4 January 2016

"Social saints, fiscal fiends", 2 Jan 2016

…David Guenther of the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business and his co-authors compared the effective tax rates paid by a sample of American firms between 2002 and 2011 with a measure of those companies’ CSR programmes compiled by MSCI, an index provider. It found that the companies which do the most CSR also make the most strenuous efforts to avoid paying tax…[First, they suggest] that companies intentionally embrace CSR for exactly the same reason they try to reduce their taxes—to maximise their profits…The second possible explanation is that companies regard CSR and taxes as substitutes for each other: the less you pay in taxes, the more you have left over for good works. Firms might even convince themselves that they have a moral obligation to reduce their tax bills: they have no control over what governments do with their taxes, whereas they can select their CSR projects and ensure they are run efficiently…The Global Reporting Initiative, which issues guidelines on how companies should report their “sustainability” efforts, recommends that they provide detailed information on their tax payments, since the public wants to know what they are contributing to the sustainability of “a larger economic system”. The UN Global Compact, a body that presses firms to align themselves with universal social goals, encourages them to collaborate with governments and other organisations to “generate more taxes”…[Also refers to 3M, Allergan, Intel, Pfizer]

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Related companies: 3M Allergan Intel Pfizer