Tax evasion by multinational companies costs Australia billions of dollars every year. Money that could fund vital public services, such as healthcare and education, is lost to overseas corporations through tax breaks and various legal loopholes.
The Global Week of Action for Tax Justice runs from 16 to 23 June and is an opportunity to put tax evasion on the global agenda ahead of the upcoming United Nations Financing for Development summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The summit will discuss how the international community will finance the fight against poverty and inequality and is an historic opportunity to reshape the global tax system.
The synod’s Justice and International Mission (JIM) unit is a member of Publish What You Pay (PWYP), a global movement that campaigns for transparency in the mining industry.
Corruption and tax evasion by Australian mining companies has a devastating impact on developing countries.
According to PWYP, two-thirds of the world’s poorest people live in resource-rich countries. However, secrecy and corruption often results in the income from natural resource extraction going missing, or shifted to tax havens. This results in few benefits for the local citizens, especially those living in poverty.
An Action Aid report released yesterday revealed that Malawi, the poorest country in the world, has lost US $43 million over the last six years to Australian mining company, Paladin. This tax revenue could have paid for 431,000 annual HIV/AIDS treatments or the annual salaries for 8,500 doctors.
“For the poorest countries especially, tax revenue is key to ensure they have the funds needed to fund their development without being reliant on foreign aid,” the report said.
“The compound effects of harmful tax breaks and corporate tax planning is devastating for the finances of developing countries.”
The JIM Unit is calling on Uniting Church members to participate in a global social media campaign to highlight the importance of tax in funding essential services.
Participants write onto a sign what they believe tax should be used for. They are invited to share a photo of themselves holding the sign on Twitter using the hashtag #TaxPaysFor to join a global community calling for tax reform.
Uniting Church members are also encouraged to sign a PWYP petition calling on the Australian government to introduce laws requiring mining, oil and gas companies to report taxes and royalties paid to the countries they are operating in. This will help reduce tax evasion by making it harder for companies to shift their revenues to tax havens.