Christian Aid and Church of Scotland critique global tax avoidance

By staff writers
October 18, 2010

Christian Aid Scotland and the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) have launched a joint report to raise awareness of the billions lost to developing countries from tax evasion and avoidance.

They have also issued a call to the International Accounting Standards Board to introduce an international country-by-country reporting standard.

Such a standard would oblige multinational corporations to report on their profits and other financial details in each of the countries or jurisdictions in which they operate, the two bodies say.

The launch of Paying our dues: how tax dodging punishes the poor, together with practical resources for churches and presbyteries, is the direct result of deliverances agreed by the Church and Society Council at the General Assembly of 2010.

These endorse the view that that companies should be transparent and accountable for the tax they pay, in all the countries in which they operate.

International organisations such as the OECD recognise that tax dodging is likely to cost developing countries more than the total that they receive in aid in each year. Christian Aid estimates that their annual loss may be as great as $160 billion.

The latest statement from the UN on the Millennium Development Goals also addressed the issue of tax. At their meeting in New York last month, leaders recognised the need to combat tax evasion and to curtail illicit financial flows at all levels.

Kathy Galloway, head of Christian Aid Scotland, commented: "Christian Aid is delighted to have the support of the Church of Scotland as we highlight the devastating impact that tax dodging has on the global economy."

Ms Galloway continued: "Especially in poor countries where the tax base is very small and millions live on subsistence incomes, it is shameful that companies which make large profits from the resources of these countries should be dodging fair taxes."

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev John Christie, said: "The Letter of James [in the New Testament] challenges us to work against injustice and speak on behalf of the vulnerable, the poorest and the marginalised."

"I am commending Paying Our Dues to all members and ministers of the Church of Scotland; it sets the context, both in terms of practical economics as well as the theological underpinning for how we as Christians might approach these issues."

The campaign includes a request for supporters to contact four FTSE 100 companies - Vodafone, Unilever, TUI Travel and Intercontinental Hotel Group to ask them to lead from the inside, and raise the call for new global accounting rules that require firms to report the profits made and taxes paid in every country they operate in.

Paying our dues: how tax dodging punishes the poor can be downloaded (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat file) here:


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