“Tax, Trade, and Transparency” on Agenda at G-8

The Group of Eight, composed of eight of the world’s 11 wealthiest nations and additional representatives of the E.U., met in Northern Ireland in June. Hosted by the U.K., British P.M. David Cameron put “the three Ts” at the top of the agenda: trade agreements, tax evasion, and transparency for multinational corporations (MNCs). Free trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States were launched at the summit and referred to as “the biggest bilateral trade agreement in history” by Cameron.

Tax and transparency overlapped in the discussion of MNCs as leaders agreed that corporations should report to all tax authorities about what taxes they pay and where. The U.S. and the U.K. both announced plans to aid efforts by establishing a register of companies and their owners.

This is meant to combat both illegal tax evasion and legal tax avoidance by companies that shift their profits across borders to avoid taxes. Greater transparency will allow leaders to adjust tax policies to increase the legitimacy of MNC taxation and catch corporations that overstep the bounds of legality.

A communique released by the G-8 also demanded more transparency from internationally-operating oil, gas, and mining companies in order to prevent the plundering of natural resources: “Developing countries should have the information and capacity to collect the taxes owed them, [and] other countries have a duty to help them,” said the statement released by the G-8.

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