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 8: The role of private actors in the international tax policy process: towards a conceptual framework

Tony Porter and Karsten Ronit

Abstract

This chapter argues that civil society actors have played a crucial role in campaigning for more socially just tax policies. It establishes a framework for conceptualizing the contributions made by business and civil society actors to global tax governance, and discusses the considerable potential for increasing the role played by business in preventing tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. However, this will only be possible if public authorities alter the incentives for business actors to do this. Whereas the contribution of non-state actors to agenda setting in global politics is well understood, this chapter argues that business also has a key role to play in the implementation and enforcement of international tax measures, and scholars should pay closer attention to the relationship between public policy, business self-regulation and civil society advocacy and its importance for more effective and just tax governance globally. The chapter examines potential roles played by civil society and business actors at each stage of the policy process, starting with the role of self-regulation in general, and then considers each more specifically with regard to taxation at the global level. The main finding is that self-regulation is likely to occur in response to initiatives taken by public authorities, although there are some examples, such as the development of CbC reporting, where new policies have been developed by civil society actors before being adopted and implemented by public authorities.

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