Saturday – 1st day of the Summit
My last blog was mainly images, this one mainly words but they’re good, so bear with me.
EXPOSED has always been about a call to churches, business and government to model integrity and transparency, that goes beyond “Is it legal?” to “Would God be pleased with my decisions?”
18 months after we launched, and after….
*1000 vigils, *147,700 signatures on the Global Call, *hundreds of Selfies, an *Open Letter from 94 global Christian leaders representing a billion Christians, AND the *world’s biggest mock tax haven event…..
we are waiting to see how the G20 will take action on issues that affect us all – tax evasion and corruption.
Good governance is vital to all of us – business people, families, teachers, judges. And to do an effective job, governments need tax income.
But corruption robs us all of funds for public services. And the biggest form of ‘corrupt’ practice is tax evasion. Much of it is on the edge of legality but we all know it’s wrong. Australia’s Treasurer, Joe Hockey, calls it “theft” and Tim Costello, chair of the Brisbane C20 and CEO of World Vision, asked this week why tax havens are allowed to exist when they do so much harm.
And here’s how unethical practice affects the poor.
In Sierra Leone, they are fighting Ebola with few resources. But, according to OECD sherpa, Gabriela Ramos, (in the centre of the photo) six international companies operating there enjoy tax breaks that are equivalent to 800% of the country’s health budget.
In other words, aggressive tax deals (it’s called the race to the bottom) mean that Sierra Leone is missing out on trained health workers and health infrastructure which in turn has exacerbated their Ebola crisis.
That is why we are in Brisbane (basking in 38° today!) with the signatures, the tax haven media stunt, overseas friends from the Philippines and France and the involvement of hundreds of locals. We take seriously the words of Job in Chapter 24,
There are those who move boundary stones;
they pasture flocks they have stolen.
They drive away the orphan’s donkey
and take the widow’s ox in pledge.
They thrust the needy from the path
and force all the poor of the land into hiding. …..
[God] may let them rest in a feeling of security,
but his eyes are on their ways.
For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;
they are brought low and gathered up like all others;
they are cut off like heads of grain.
We want less greed and more good.
For those still reading, this is the ABC of what we are hoping will be included in the communique tomorrow:
Automatic information exchange of tax information between governments. This has been endorsed by all G20 nations to be implemented by 2018.
BEPS is corporations reporting openly who benefits from profits and payments so the real beneficiaries are known. It is also about stopping companies shifting profits and costs among subsidiaries to avoid tax. This will be going ahead under guidance from the OECD over the next 3 years and more and more multinationals are supporting this move.
Country by country reporting is companies reporting exactly where they make profits rather than supplying global figures. Developing countries may not have the where withal to comply if the deal is only ‘reciprocal’. The OECD has released a template that could be a global standard.
Please pray for the communique process. Pray for the will to see the rules applied for the benefit of all.