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.

The proposal was followed Friday by a letter to General Motors (GM) from U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) requesting that the automaker disclose country-by-country information on the company’s profits, taxes, employees, and tangible assets in light of GM’s recently announced layoffs.

Clark Gascoigne, the deputy director of the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition, issued the following statement:

“This is important because it shows that diverse constituencies agree there is a need for more transparency around offshore corporate tax practices.  Accountants, investors, businesses, and tax justice advocates increasingly recognize that transparency is necessary to better safeguard shareholders, protect taxpayers, and inform policymakers.

“The risks are real.  It’s billions of dollars at stake. GRI’s proposal highlights the need for public country-by-country reporting of taxes and profits.

“Over the past few years, lawmakers in Europe have been more attuned to the need for tax transparency, so it’s especially encouraging to see U.S. Senators Van Hollen, Klobuchar, and Duckworth recognize the utility of disclosure.

“We encourage policymakers at the SEC and FASB to follow GRI’s lead in establishing strong transparency standards.”

GRI is accepting comments on the proposal until March 15, 2019.

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Notes to Editors:

  • Details about the full proposal can be found on the GRI website.
  • A PDF of the draft GRI standard can be downloaded here.
  • A full list of the technical committee that drafted the standard is available here.
  • Read the letter from Senators Van Hollen, Klobuchar and Duckworth.
  • The FACT Coalition recently released a new report explaining the investor case for tax disclosure. Click here to read more about the report.

Journalist Contact:

Clark Gascoigne
Deputy Director, The FACT Coalition
+1 202 810-1334
cgascoigne@nullthefactcoalition.org