Tax, corporate responsibility and human rights: new paper

From the Boston University Law Review, a paper by Jasmine Fisher entitled Fairer Shores: tax havens, tax avoidance and corporate social responsibility. Its introduction contains this:

“The doctrine of corporate social responsibility provides a logical rationale for multinational corporations to adopt antiavoidance practices, in that the harm caused by tax avoidance outweighs any financial benefit that accrues from these practices.”

Quite so – as we’ve argued before, not least because corporate tax avoidance is like refined sugar in the human body: empty financial calories with adverse long term health effects. But it’s not just that. As Fisher continues:

“Some corporate leaders have demonstrated remarkable nonchalance toward or even expressed pride in their tax avoidance practices. For these corporate leaders, if national governments have not (yet) made it illegal, it is not wrong; in fact, in the view of some, fiduciary responsibilities toward shareholders may even require their corporations to engage in such activities. If this attitude prevailed in all areas of business, however, corporations would still engage in environmentally harmful activities, human rights abuses, and other forms of socially irresponsible activity for the sake of maximizing shareholder value.”

So: along with the clear links between tax abuses and issues of Corporate Responsibility, here is yet another linkage between tax abuses and human rights abuses – an area of fast-growing interest and engagement from academics, civil society and others.

Despite the gargantuan scale of the problem, there’s hope in all this, as the paper continues:

“Fortunately, the same mechanisms that helped environmental and human rights advocates convince corporations to engage in nontax socially responsible activity – that is, consumer activism, investor influence, and corporate leadership – have the potential to end the corporate tax avoidance culture and end (or at least mitigate) the harms of international corporate tax avoidance.”

So: let’s all get cracking. The new paper, as a reminder, is here.

 


Related Posts

New Report: HMRC’s “Building our Future” programme

bigben-mcbigbenfaceYesterday the Tax Justice Network was in the UK Parliament to launch a report it co-produced with the Public and Commercial Services Union. The report, entitled “HMRC, Building an Uncertain Future” is a study of HMRC’s (the UK tax authority) reform plans which it is calling “Building our Future”. The report published yesterday analysed the […]

READ MORE →

Financial secrecy in football: time for action

bigben-mcbigbenfaceEveryone has known for years that football is rotten to the core and financial secrecy is at the heart of the problem. Why then is no one doing anything about it? This post from the Offshore Game project originally features in the Independent. 

READ MORE →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top