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Alex Cobham @alexcobham
, 14 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
A big win for the corporate secrecy lobbyists, as Germany moves to block public country-by-country reporting at the EU… via @taxjusticenet
Context: the European Commission position, and the European Parliament's superior amendments, were awaiting the member states to join the trialogue and agree the specifics of public country-by-country reporting. But Germany has now moved to prevent this.
Wider context: the OECD has been increasingly vocal of late in arguing that making country-by-country reporting public would betray the BEPS agreement that the data be private to tax authorities.
OECD has also been arguing that their (complex, unnecessary) info exchange arrangements are increasingly effective and inclusive. This, despite the clarity of the evidence that lower-income countries are systematically excluded.
US multinationals are *highly* opposed to country-by-country reporting, presumably because it confirms that the US itself is the biggest revenue loser from their profit shifting. Is the US pushing the OECD to work to maintain secrecy?
German multinationals have been perhaps the next most active opponents of public country-by-country reporting.…
And yet after all the business lobbying, the SPD had a position *in favour* of public country-by-country reporting - so it seems strange that they have reversed this once in power.
What does this all mean? First, the German government, and the SPD, should be held accountable for this decision to block the greatest opportunity to deliver at the EU what would have been the biggest, and near-global, step forward in corporate disclosure since public accounts.
Second, those governments around the EU who had resisted the introduction of public country-by-country reporting because of a genuine preference for multilateral action, should now prioritise their individual measures.
Most obvious in that is the UK, which has already legislated to require public country-by-country reporting but not yet enacted it. If the government won't act now EU progress is ruled out, it's a clear frustration of 2016 Parliamentary decision. Parliament should now impose it.
Lastly, attempts to block public country-by-country reporting on the decent but imperfect OECD standard - see… - will give new impetus to efforts to create a better standard specifically for public reporting. This might just be one:…
Multinational companies, the largest private economic actors in the world, are also those of which least public disclosure is required. The struggle for corporate accountability has lasted decades, and will continue, because the human impacts of tax abuses are too great.
PS. German & US multinationals have most strongly opposed public country-by-country reporting, from 2 of the OECD countries that lose most revenues to profit shifting. Coincidence? Or are these companies with most to lose, if it's seen that they undermine their 'home' country?
PPS. On the suggestion that country-by-country reporting might genuinely be tax data rather than accounting data, so the German position to make it the former - and so require unanimity, i.e. block it - could be legitimate (it's not):
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