Global Policy Forum

Lawyers response to tax dodging

Fair_shares_kleinIn a feature South-African organization L4BB deals with the subject of growing anger at corporate tax dodging. Adrienne Margolis poses the question: How can commercial lawyers respond to demands for tax justice? In order to improve revenue raising from multinationals operating in developing countries, L4BB demands a legal aprroach that sidesteps technical distinctions between legitimate tax planning, tax avoidance and tax evasion and focuses instead on a more widely defined notion of 'tax abuse'.

16 October, 2013 | L4BB

Tax dodging not backed by international law

Member of L4BB Adrienne Margolis discusses in a new download feature the often-quoted opinion that corporations, whose business model relies on tax avoidance schemes are backed up by commercial lawyers who claim that their mandate is to reduce their client’s tax liability, within the available parameters. By contrast an International Bar Association Human Rights Institute task force investigated whether tax abuses are an infringement or violation of human rights under international law. The task force is looking into the relationship between illicit financial flows, poverty and human rights and is focusing on tax abuse (for more, go here)

The task force rapporteur Lloyd Lipsett explains tax abuse of corporations will attract increasing attention since “The issues of tax abuse, domestic resource mobilisation and human rights are starting to pop up in discussions on the post-2015 agenda that will replace the millennium development goals” on UN level.  

The L4BB feature download concludes that the wide-spread believe that tax dodgers cannot be accused of doing anything illegal should be contested. Corporations avoiding taxes via benefiting of sibling hub companies in low tax jurisdictions always risk litigations.

Lawyers for Better Business (L4BB) is an online publication and network to enable lawyers to become advocates of corporate responsibility. The ultimate aim of L4BB is to make global companies aware of their obligations and the need to take the social cost of their operations into account. Therefore L4BB helps lawyers to keep up with regulatory trends, soft law and best practice.

Visit the L4BB website here.

Read the whole feature download “Fare shares” here.


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