Business, Civil Society and the ‘New’ Politics of Corporate Tax Justice
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Business, Civil Society and the ‘New’ Politics of Corporate Tax Justice

Paying a Fair Share?

Edited by Richard Eccleston and Ainsley Elbra

Since the financial crisis the extent of corporate tax avoidance has attracted media headlines and the attention of political leaders the world over. This study examines the ‘new’ politics of corporate taxation and the role of civil society organisations in shaping the international tax agenda and influencing the tax practices of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations. It highlights the complex and multi-dimensional strategies used by activists to influence public opinion, formal regulation and corporate behaviour in relation to international taxation.
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Chapter 2: BEPS and the new politics of corporate tax justice

Richard Eccleston

Abstract

Awareness of tax avoidance by multinational corporations (MNCs) has been growing for some years, but the political and economic legacies of the financial crisis have combined to create a potent new politics of tax justice. This chapter discusses these developments, analysing the factors which have shaped the contemporary international tax agenda and tracing their impacts through a series of international legal frameworks and unilateral national policy interventions. Particular attention is paid to the OECD BEPS suite of initiatives, especially with regard to the options for reforming the way in which corporate profits and tax liabilities are divided between the jurisdictions in which economic activity is created. It is argued that the multitude of recent policy responses to tax avoidance are noteworthy owing to having been prompted, influenced and complemented by new advocacy campaigns and strategies developed and prosecuted by civil society organisations. Whether civil society groups can exert sufficient influence to ensure that MNCs pay their fair share of taxation remains to be seen, but the battle is shaping up to be a critical test of whether MNCs can be subject to an adequate level of democratic accountability.

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