Companies Don’t Want to Talk Taxes. Investors Can Change That.

This article was originally published in Barron’s.

No one wants to talk about tax or, more importantly, take the actions required to tackle the elephant in the room. Tax avoidance is one of the biggest drivers of inequality across the globe. No one can begin to truly tackle this issue without talking about tax.

As it currently stands, there simply aren’t enough corporations disclosing their practices, investors asking the right questions, or governments imposing regulations and penalties. Whether through legal avoidance loopholes or illegal evasion practices, multinational corporations not paying their fair share of taxes is far from victimless.

Corporate tax avoidance practices cost global governments between $100 billion and $600 billion every year. Developing countries suffer disproportionately. They lose around $213 billion from tax avoidance annually, according to the International Monetary Fund.

It’s not just the figures that are staggering, but also the lack of social progress to which this deficit in tax revenues directly contributes. Simply put, tax revenues are a driver of equality; they allow governments to provide critical social services, which not only contribute to economic growth but also protect a community’s most vulnerable.

Corporate taxation that is effective and fit for purpose can drive sustainable development, mitigate rising inequalities, and support both inclusive growth and prosperity. Tax revenue provides global governments with the financing for much-needed public services as well as social and environmental programs to address urgent challenges.

Continue Reading: the full op-ed can be found here.

Fiona Reynolds is the CEO of Principles for Responsible Investment.

This article was originally published in Barron’s.