The B team & 9 leading companies launch new responsible tax principles
The Responsible Tax Principles have been developed by The B Team and a group of leading companies, through engagement with civil society organisations, institutional investors and international institutions. So far the Principles have been endorsed by a Allianz, BHP, A.P. Moller – Maersk, Natura Cosméticos, Repsol, Safaricom, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Unilever and Vodafone Group Plc.
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Author: Alex Cobham, Tax Justice Network
"The B-Team: Lowering the bar for tax transparency?", 16 Feb 2018
...The one thing lacking so far in the process towards public country-by-country reporting has been a champion among the major multinationals – and that’s exactly who the B Team work with. Moreover, they have made some genuine progress towards beneficial ownership transparency for their own group structures.
...the B Team... make the broad case for the importance of tax – including as critical to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals...We should celebrate the progress that this embodies.
...The B Team report identifies seven principles... principles 1-6 is ok, commitments to comply with the law, or existing positions on beneficial ownership transparency, don’t exactly move the needle. And crucially on transparency, what is immediately clear is that the B Team principle – despite making most of the right noises – stops well short of requiring any kind of consistent reporting.
...The B Team’s members have committed themselves to worthy principles that lack any consistent transparency, and therefore any hard criteria against which to evaluate progress. Given the range of standards and proposals out there that have moved beyond this, it is – sadly – evident that the ‘new bar’ is a lower bar.
...We invite the B Team to revisit this work with urgency, and to seek their members’ agreement to – at the minimum – come up to existing standards of tax transparency. We remain happy to engage on this. Ideally the B Team would join with the many engaged groups in the Open Data for Tax Justice hub, and become champions for public country-by-country reporting.
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The publication of a new set of corporate tax principles by The B Team, a coalition of progressive business leaders, was welcomed by Oxfam today. The principles have been endorsed by companies such as Allianz, Unilever and Vodafone Group Plc.
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International said:
“The B Team have raised the bar on what constitutes responsible corporate tax behavior. They have set a new standard for companies that claim to operate ethically - claims that ring hollow if businesses do not pay their fair share of tax. All companies should meet these standards and truly forward-looking companies should do even more.
“The B Team principles are a welcome step forward but there is more work to do on tax transparency. Unless companies are required to publish a detailed financial report for every country where they do business, we simply won’t know if they are paying their fair share of tax. This is particularly important for poor countries which lose $100 billion a year because of corporate tax dodging.”
Author: The B Team
Some of the world’s biggest companies... together with The B Team, have today set out a new set of Responsible Tax Principles designed to raise the bar in how businesses should approach tax practice.
The Principles...cover key areas such as tax management strategy, interactions with authorities, and reporting. So far nine companies with operations in more than 150 countries have endorsed the Principles.
They encourage other businesses to follow their lead and invite governments and civil society to contribute to a dialogue that will see tax strategies used to direct resources where they are most needed as part of the collective effort to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
... The Principles ...include:
● Make boards accountable for tax policy;
● Publish a tax strategy and be transparent about its implementation;
● Be transparent about the entities they own around the world and why;
● Provide information on their overall effective tax rate, and on the taxes paid in countries they operate in.
[Also refers to Natura Cosméticos]
Author: The B Team
This document sets out The B Team Responsible Tax Principles which have been developed through dialogue with a group of leading companies, convened by The B Team with contributions from civil society, institutional investors and international institution representatives. It aims to establish the principles and an approach to taxation that companies can endorse to demonstrate responsibility and play their part in creating a stable, secure and sustainable society.