Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tax is the new aid

This is the top headline right now from the UK politics website, noting that

"This morning, activists from Christian Aid handed the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) the charity's Greatest Potential for Tax Reform award at their HQ in Cannon Street, London."

Christian Aid (like TJN) wants the IASB, which is responsible for drawing up rules covering how companies draw up their annual accounts, to instigate urgent and far-reaching reforms - including forcing companies trading internationally to report profits made and taxes paid in every country where they operate.

And they pointed squarely at the Big Four accounting firms (none of which would comment, when contacted), which play a major role in influencing accounting standards, adding that

"The big point of the awards is to highlight to the accountancy profession that currently tax dodging costs the developing world £160 billion a year - four times the cost of implementing the millennium development goals"


"The big four companies are not the only winners at this year's awards. The Department for International Development is the sole owner of CDC Group, which took the tax havens gong. . . . CDC has 72 subsidiaries, of which 40 are in tax havens including Bermuda, Mauritius and the Netherlands Antilles"

There are more:

P&O cruises' owner, Carnival, took the Low Tax Rate Achievement award.

"Carnival is the world's largest cruise company and employs more than 80,000 people. Between 2002 and 2008 inclusive, the company paid tax of just $61.7 million on total profits of $4.3 billion, despite following entirely legal practices, Christian Aid said. Barclays plc won Tax Haven Enthusiast of the Year award due to its subsidiaries in 315 different tax havens, 150 of which are in the Cayman Islands. Barclays and Carnival failed to comment on their award winning status."

There is still more. Read their thoroughly excellent overview of the problem here.


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