Paying Their Fair Share? Business, Civil Society and the ‘New’ Politics of Corporate Tax Justice.

Stream: Panel 36 - International Relations: From Words to Deeds in Global Governance? 
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 2.00 pm – 3.30 pm

Abstract

The financial crisis of 2008/09 continues to cast a long shadow as governments the world over grapple with significantbudget challenges arising from high levels of public debt combined with tepid economic growth. Given these fiscal challenges facing the issue of multinational tax avoidance has become increasingly salient. This paper provides an overview of an emerging research project on the ‘new’ political economy of multi-national tax avoidance. Whereas international tax governance was hitherto a technical regulatory issue, as a result of unprecedented activist campaigns, media exposésand high-profile scandals, MNC tax avoidance has become a main-stream social justice issue highlighting the limits of democratic governance. At the international level, regulatory reforms have been made through inter-governmental organisations such as the OECD. These reforms represent a systematic campaign to address international tax evasion and avoidance, an in turn a potential solution to states’ fiscal challenges. However, as vocal tax justice NGOs argue, such initiatives have done little to address corporate tax avoidance and, as a result, the fairness and integrity of the international tax system remains under threat. This paper outlines the scale of the challenge of corporate taxation and regulatory efforts to date. Highlighting the slow-moving nature of inter-governmental reforms, it examines voluntary governance as a potential solution to the challenge of MNC tax avoidance. We then explore the various actors involved in corporate tax arena and the effectiveness of their efforts to date before concluding by presenting some tentative theoretical and empirical conclusions.

Authors

Richard Eccleston (Presenter), University of Tasmania
Richard Eccleston is a Professor at the University of Tasmania.

Ainsely Elbra (Presenter), University of Sydney
Ainsley Elbra is a Ph.D. student at the University of Sydney