Tax avoidance "as big an issue as sweatshops" says ActionAid at launch of report on how companies can commit to "Tax Responsibility"

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11 July 2011

Tax avoidance ‘as big an issue as sweatshops’ says ActionAid

Author: ActionAid

Businesses face the risk of seriously damaging their reputation if they do not make tax planning part of their corporate responsibility programmes, says anti-poverty charity ActionAid...[A]longside other campaign groups ActionAid will launch a report on how companies can proactively commit to 'Tax Responsibility’...Martin Hearson [ActionAid’s tax policy advisor] said: "So far businesses have reacted to criticism of their tax avoidance by denying any responsibility. This is exactly how the fashion industry reacted when claims of ‘sweatshop’ abuses emerged in the 1990s. Just as fashion companies who failed to take these allegations seriously incurred major reputation damage, so businesses accused of tax avoidance need to respond with more than reflex denials."

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1 July 2011

[PDF] Tax responsibility: The business case for making tax a corporate responsibility issue

Author: ActionAid, FairFood, FairPensions

[A] growing number of businesses and investors are concluding that there is a business case for viewing tax planning through a CR lens. Drivers include the increase in public scrutiny of corporate tax avoidance, and a renewed effort to tackle tax avoidance by revenue authorities in developing and developed countries...Tax payments are an important part of businesses’ economic contribution to the countries in which they operate. Tax in developing countries can help provide the funds to expand much-needed public services such as healthcare and education, to alleviate poverty and disease, and for public investment in infrastructure. In short, tax helps provide the basic building blocks for economic growth...[O]rganisations such as ours believe that corporate tax responsibility in developing countries means exercising restraint when it comes to tax planning. [refers to SABMiller, Nike, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, GlaxoSmithKline, Barclays, Vodafone, Boots (part of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts), Google and GE, BP, Calvert Investments, Glencore, Bunge, Cargill, Dreyfus, Credit Suisse, Henderson Global Investors (part of AMP Group), Marks and Spencer, Gap, Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Levi Strauss, Adidas, Reebok (part of adidas)]

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