By Benjamin Umuteme
International Non Governmental Organisation, Oxfam UK has urged the UK government to take action to increase transparency and tackle tax dodging by individuals and corporate bodies.
A report by the group stated that $170 billion is lost yearly by the world’s poorest regions.
According to Oxfam head of advocacy, Katy Chakrabortty, “Tax avoidance continues to deprive developing countries of billions that could be invested in healthcare, schools and fighting poverty as well as hurt ordinary taxpayers in rich countries like the UK.
“Millions of the world’s poorest people are missing out on essential services that could save their lives and help them escape hardship.”
Chakrabortty noted that the “UK needs to get ahead of the next scandal” and treat tax avoidance as a serious public policy issue.
The UN has estimated corporate tax avoidance to cost developing countries at least $100bn a year and economist Gabriel Zucman has said the world’s poorest regions lose approximately $71bn annually to offshore tax avoidance by wealthy individuals.
In order to help ensure that countries can claim their “fair share” of revenue, the Oxfam Head of advocacy urged the government to introduce a public registers of company beneficial ownership both in UK’s overseas territories and crown dependencies, that developing countries have access to tax and company data, and ensuring that corporate tax rules in the UK do not incentivise companies to avoid tax in developing countries.
“The UK should show “international leadership on tackling tax avoidance”, including pushing for global tax reforms that include all countries.”
She further urged the government to “urgently drive forward tough action to tackle tax dodging, starting by making sure UK-based multinationals publish their tax payments in every country, and requiring UK-linked tax havens such as Bermuda to reveal the real owners of companies.”
“Reforming tax rules isn’t easy but it is possible, and the government has previously said it is willing to lead on this issue. Any reasons for delay are completely outweighed by the compelling moral and practical case for action,” she added