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Shell takes major step towards tax transparency, combating oil sector secrecy

Author: Oxfam, Published on: 20 December 2019

18 December 2019.

...In a new report released yesterday, Shell went beyond its legal requirements for financial reporting and payments-to-governments reporting by mining, oil, and gas companies by including country-by-country profit, employment, and tax data covering all its business segments, accompanied by explanatory text. This sort of public country-by-country reporting and the additional narrative information are critical for investors, civil society, and the general public to assess whether a company is paying a fair amount of tax. "Under pressure from civil society groups and investors who have questioned whether Shell pays a fair share of taxes in the countries in which it operates, Shell has responded by providing more transparency,” said Daniel Mulé, Oxfam America’s senior policy advisor for tax and the extractive industries...

The disclosures in Shell’s report are in line with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) template that companies are already using to report this information to governments. Shell is now the first multinational corporation to disclose this country-by-country reporting...“While some companies argue that publishing profits, employment, and taxes on a country-by-country basis is too difficult, Shell has now proved them wrong,” said Niko Lusiani, Oxfam America’s senior advisor for corporate advocacy...“This report demonstrates that this sort of reporting is possible, even for a large multinational company with a variety of different types of operations in a range of different countries and regions, does not present a competitiveness risk for companies, nor does it entail exorbitant and prohibitive administrative costs...

“Companies preparing to comply with the Global Reporting Initiative’s new Standard for reporting on tax will find Shell’s new report a helpful practical reference for how country-by-country reporting can be done,” said Lusiani..."But transparency alone is insufficient. Shell and other companies must also take action to ensure their tax practices are responsible and contribute substantially to the tax base of the countries in which they operate.”...“The SEC should take note of the fact that Shell published the tax it paid in countries around the world in 2018,” said Mulé...

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Related companies: Shell