Ethical Performance
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UN puts focus on tax issues

November 2009

The importance of tax avoidance as a CSR issue moved up a notch last month with a decision by the United Nations Business and Human Rights Resource Centre to dedicate a section of its website to the topic.

The new area includes advice on international standards, guidance on reporting and an outline of responses by companies, along with reports by NGOs on the problems it creates.

The centre says in its introduction to the site: ‘NGOs are increasingly reporting on companies that avoid paying a fair share of taxes and royalties in developing countries, thus depriving governments of essential revenues they need to deliver to their people.

‘A fundamental problem associated with tax avoidance and evasion is that many companies fail to disclose the tax and royalties they pay in each country.’

The centre continues: ‘Companies that do pay their fair share of tax and royalties are making an important contribution to the ability of governments to address human rights and development.’ It adds, however. that tax minimization is a ‘legitimate endeavour’ by any for-profit enterprise. 

United Nations | Global | Tax Evasion

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