Country-by-Country Reporting

New Report: Corporate Tax Transparency Becoming the Global Norm

Investors, Businesses, and Policymakers Increasingly Take Steps Toward Public Country-by-Country Reporting of Tax Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public disclosure of multinational corporations’ disaggregated profits and taxes is steadily progressing toward a global norm as investors, businesses, and policymakers have increasingly taken steps toward transparency, according to a new study published Tuesday by the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition.

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Trending Toward Transparency

There is a growing chorus of individuals and organizations speaking out on the value of tax transparency and, in particular, the public country-by-country reporting (CBCR) of certain financial information for multinational companies, according to this April 2019 report published by the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition (FACT Coalition).

Titled “Trending Toward Transparency: The Rise of Public Country-by-Country Reporting,” the report highlights the growing support among various sectors of the investing, business, and policymaking communities as well as several enacted and proposed rules around the world to mandate increased disclosures.

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Tax Day Highlights Broken Promises and a Need for Transparency

By Gary Kalman

On Tax Day 2019, the first year of data on corporate taxes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) are coming in.  Those who championed the corporate reforms promised, among other benefits, that the changes would end the offshore shell games by multinationals, profits stashed in tax havens would return to the U.S., and the new competitive rate would attract a flood of foreign direct investment.

Opponents of the new law, like the FACT Coalition and our members, argued that the incentives would have the opposite effect: the offshoring of profits would continue and the incentives might well create new (unhelpful) distortions influencing corporate behavior.

It is now time to look at what actually happened.  To get a better sense of the impact, consider the following recent excerpts from various news reports and analysis by tax experts.

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New Bill Removes Tax Incentives to Shift Profits and Operations Offshore

“No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act” Endorsed by 57 National Organizations, Sponsored by 80 Members of Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Eighty lawmakers introduced legislation Wednesday that would equalize the tax rates for domestic businesses and multinational corporations — reducing the tax incentive to shift profits and operations overseas that were enacted under the recent tax overhaul, according to the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition.

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Sustainability Panel Proposes Tax Transparency Standard

Global Reporting Initiative’s Proposal Could Bring Public Country-by-Country Reporting of Taxes, Profits, Revenues, and Employees to More than 4,000 Companies

Plan Comes as U.S. Senators Call on GM to Disclose Country-by-Country Data

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A global sustainability standards-setting body issued a proposal Thursday to have multinational companies publicly disclose basic financial information on a country-by-country basis, in a move praised by transparency advocates.  The Sustainability Reporting Standards from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) are voluntarily followed by over 4,000 businesses in more than 90 countries.  The draft GRI “Standard on Tax and Payments to Governments” was developed by a multi-stakeholder technical committee consisting of representatives from PricewaterhouseCoopers, MFS Investment Management, Vodaphone PLC, and the Tax Justice Network, among others.

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Muddled Markets

Investors are at an increasing risk due to the lack of information disclosed by companies about their tax practices, according to this November 2018 report published by the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition (FACT Coalition). Titled “Muddled Markets: Investors Increasingly at Risk from Lack of Disclosures about Corporate Tax Practices,” the report finds that multinational companies have become increasingly reliant on offshore tax avoidance practices to boost short-term earnings in recent years, yet disclosure requirements haven’t kept pace with this changing world.

As governments around the globe struggle with growing budget deficits, tax authorities are increasingly cracking down on aggressive tax avoidance practices, which can have a significant impact on shareholder value. At the same time, shifting national policies around international taxation — including, but not limited to, the recent tax overhaul in the United States — create complexity and uncertainties with respect to returns for investors.

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