Corporate social responsibility, tax avoidance, and counting spoons

   1   0 Blog, Tax and corporate responsibility

TJN has always taken a sceptical view of corporate social responsibility.  Our outlook has been shaped by the view that real social and economic responsibility starts with paying the right amount of tax, to the right country, at the right time.  The fact that so many multinational companies decline to do this speaks volumes about their true values.  So it comes as no surprise to us that research from a team at University of Oregon has revealed a consistently negative relationship between the largely self-reported CSR activity levels and paying corporate income tax.  The researchers conclude:

. . . for corporations and other stakeholders (namely governments trying to attract investment) “the payment of taxes is not viewed as an important socially responsible activity.”   Reinforcing this finding is the discovery of a strong positive correlation between the CSR activity levels of corporations and their support of lobbying to lower their taxes.

The seductive words of the CSR lobbyists have largely melted into air and there is little credible evidence that CSR has achieved anything of any real value.  As writer Ralph Waldo Emerson once observed, “the louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.”

Read the source research here

hat tip: Dr Gail Bradbrook

Related Posts

New estimates reveal the extent of tax avoidance by multinationals

Price Waterhouse CoopersNew figures published today by the Tax Justice Network provide a country-level breakdown of the estimated tax losses to profit shifting by multinational companies. Applying a methodology developed by researchers at the International Monetary Fund to an improved dataset, the results indicate global losses of around $500 billion a year. The figures appear in a […]


Banking Secrecy in China, its related territories and Taiwan

Hong Kong from Sky 100Foreword. The Tax Justice Network is a non partisan network of experts working towards transparency, so we do not take any position about countries’ territorial and political claims. However, we do expect countries with a de jure (legal) or de facto (in practice) influence over other territories, to take responsibility for their power. We point […]


Is tax avoidance at the heart of Ireland’s economic miracle?

AIB International Finance Centre Dublin - By Estoy Aquí (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsComing out of the economic crisis Ireland was one of the best performing economies, with GDP growth rates of 8.5% in 2014 and an extraordinary 26.3% in 2015. But how much of this economic activity was real, and how much a fiction created by Ireland’s tax haven status? A new paper by Heike Joebges of the University […]


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 […]


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. 


One thought on “Corporate social responsibility, tax avoidance, and counting spoons

  1. This reminds me of a comment by the offshore investigator David Marchant of Offshore Alert: he told me that when he finds a “Lord” or a “Sir” in a corporate structure, he treats it as a red flag. Theatre of probity, and all that.

Leave a Reply

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

Back to Top