hide message

Welcome to the Resource Centre

We make it our mission to work with advocates in civil society, business and government to address inequalities of power, seek remedy for abuse, and ensure protection of people and planet.

Both companies and impacted communities thank us for the resources and support we provide.

This is only possible because of your support. Please make a donation today.

Thank you,
Phil Bloomer, Executive Director

Donate now hide message

RightingFinance launches series of advocacy tools on tax policy & human rights

TaxEvasion_MarcelloCasalJr

On 6 April 2016, RightingFinance published the first in a series of educational tools that discuss how countries can use revised tax policies to redress systematic discrimination. They state that to comply with international human rights law, governments must establish progressive tax measures that ensure equal access to economic, social and cultural rights.

Get RSS feed of these results

All components of this story

Article
11 July 2016

Human rights law and the obligation of countries to cooperate on tax matters

Author: Aldo Caliari, RightingFinance

When discussing tax policy a common tendency used to be to treat it as an exclusively domestic policy matter, one to which only the prerogatives and obligations of the State where the respective taxes are to be collected are relevant. Reality could be nothing further from the truth, as demonstrated by the amounts of revenue that get lost to tax evasion and avoidance by international actors because of their ability to straddle across a diversity of national jurisdictions...

...At the Third Financing for Development Conference last year, the biggest issue of contention was whether to establish a body with full participation of developing countries to negotiate rules for tax cooperation...

...A new publication by RightingFinance addresses the implications for tax policy of obligations of cooperation and assistance for the achievement of human rights. Each tool contains normative foundations of the obligations and rights in question, their applications to tax policy – including explanations and references to practical examples – and a set of questions for reflection.

Read the full post here

Article
11 July 2016

Tax policy and international cooperation and assistance for the achievement of human rights

Author: RightingFinance

This is the fourth in a series of advocacy tools produced by RightingFinance to assist education and dissemination of standards on tax policy and human rights contained in a report produced by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights...

...Application in tax policy: International cooperation to precent tax evasion and abuse...This is important because it means that although tax evasion may happen in a domestic vacuum, tackling it will not yield as high an amount of public revenue as tackling the largest-scale tax evasion. In fact, the international dimension of tax evasion is quite significant, and proportionately more so in developing countries...[Other applications include] Tax abuse through transfer mispricing and lack of disclosure on beneficial ownership...Tax competition...International tax agreements...Human rights obligations are applicable to states in the course of negotiating, signing and implementing double taxation agreements to which they are Parties...

Read the full post here

Download the full document here

Article
13 June 2016

Civil and Political Rights in Tax Policy

Author: RightingFinance

“The rights to participation, accountability, transparency and access to information are critical human rights principles that also apply to fiscal policies and must be implemented throughout the policy cycle...”…“Decision-making processes regarding tax and public revenues must therefore be based on…the broadest possible national dialogue, with effective and meaningful participation of civil society and those who will be directly affected by such policies, including people living in poverty…”…Unfortunately, many countries currently lack these…venues for engagement…“Income distribution and its management through taxation also have a crucial relationship with democracy. Growing income disparities can serve to polarize and fragment societies...”…Tax incentives also have “significant implications for the right to information, transparency and accountability, as tax incentives are often negotiated in secret between the Government and the company concerned, fostering corruption and weak governance.”…The right to enjoy a fair share of the financial and social benefits that natural resources can bring requires “ensuring participation...Where indigenous peoples are involved, States have additional and specific obligations, including ensuring free, prior and informed consent in any decisions regarding the use of their lands.”…

Read the full post here

Article
13 June 2016

Democracy: What does it have to do with a fair taxation system?

Author: Aldo Caliari, RightingFinance

…[C]ivil and political rights bear consequences for tax policy…A new publication by RightingFinance centers on the implications of civil and political rights for tax policy…The tax policy cycle, from design of budgets and tax codes…through to monitoring and evaluation of impact are subject to rights to participation, accountability, transparency and access to information. “Participation may involve creating space for citizens and civil society groups to participate directly in tax assessment processes…” the report said. The report warned of the danger that, absent such…venues for engagement, elites that control the state have a free hand to capture it and direct its policies to their own benefit…RightingFinance’s publication addresses other issues…such as the ramifications civil and political rights have for access to information on tax policy, natural resource taxation and tax incentives…Among others, the publication invites reflection on questions such as how inclusive tax decision-making processes are regarding the poorest and vulnerable segments of the population…

Read the full post here

Article
29 April 2016

Maximum Available Resources, Non-retrogression and Minimum Essential Levels in Tax Policy

Author: RightingFinance

This is the second in a series of advocacy tools produced by RightingFinance to assist education and dissemination of standards on tax policy and human rights contained in a report produced by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights...

In Liberia, extensive tax concessions to foreign investors involved in ore projects go far beyond the arrangements set out in the Liberia Revenue Code (LRC),to the point that the IMF recommended that if such concessions came up for renegotiation, the authorities should aim to harmonize the terms with the Revenue Code and avoid tax breaks...

[S]tates commonly justify granting incentives on the need to attract foreign investment. So, based on jurisprudence from the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in a case like that the state will have the burden of showing which human rights the investment meant to be attracted by the incentives will advance. It will also have to show that the incentive was the option least restrictive to economic, social and cultural rights.

Given evidence that the success of fiscal incentives to attract foreign investment is limited, the link between offered incentives and incoming investment cannot be lightly presumed. So the state will need to show that the investment would not have come absent the incentive and that the benefits from the investment outweigh its cost...

Read the full post here

Article
29 April 2016

Second in series: Tax & Human Rights advocacy tool

Author: Global Alliance for tax Justice

...States also have an immediate obligation to ensure the satisfaction of, at the very least, minimum essential levels of economic, social and cultural rights.

A new publication by RightingFinance centers on the implications of such normative principles for tax policy...

...[A]lthough a state has discretion to use the tax measures that are best suited to its circumstances, it has the burden of demonstrating that in using its discretion to choose the most appropriate tax measure it is not violating principles such as progressive realization or maximum available resources.

Referring to states that fail to increase revenue through taxation, the report reminded that "the quality, accessibility and availability of goods and services needed for the realization of human rights, such as the rights to an adequate standard of living, health, education and social security, will hinge on the resources that the State is able to collect."

Economic and social rights also have implications for the use of corporate tax incentives. Tax incentives or tax holidays for corporations represent foregone public revenue in amounts frequently large, especially when compared with the human rights needs that could have been met with such revenue...

Other issues in the report that the advocacy tool addresses are taxes on the financial sector, natural resource taxes and standards for economic crises prevention and response.

A series of questions at the end invites reflection on a number of aspects to analyze when assessing human rights compliance in individual country cases...

Read the full post here

Item
6 April 2016

Equality and Non-discrimination in Tax Policy

Author: RightingFinance

This is the first in a series of advocacy tools produced by RightingFinance to assist education and dissemination of standards on tax policy and human rights contained in a report produced by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights...A fundamental pillar of international human rights law and an immediate obligation of all states is the obligation to guarantee that human rights are exercised without discrimination of any kind...In revenue-raising policies, this means that any action or omission by the State in this area must not discriminate, either directly or indirectly, against any individual or group (including on the basis of race, gender, disability or economic and social status) or perpetuate discrimination and inequality...Moreover, in some circumstances, these rights require States to take affirmative action or special measures to prevent, diminish and eliminate the conditions and attitudes that cause or perpetuate systemic or de facto discrimination...

Read the full post here

Article
6 April 2016

Equality, non-discrimination and tax policy: Asking the right questions

Author: Aldo Caliari, Center of Concern, on RightingFinance

What do the human rights principles of equality and non-discrimination mean for tax policy? This is the question at the center of the first in a series of four advocacy tools on tax policy and human rights produced by RightingFinance....The aim of the advocacy tools is to assist education and dissemination of the standards on tax policy and human rights contained in a report produced by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights in 2014 ("the report")...The advocacy tools are geared towards generating a more broadly-based understanding of the critical relationship between tax policy and human rights by activists, law practitioners and enforcers, educators and citizens in general...The goal is not to prescribe a one-size-fits-all approach to human rights-based tax policy, but to unleash the creative power of human rights as a tool for socio-economic transformation...

Read the full post here