Multinational corporations playing the global shell game to avoid paying taxes may eventually have to face up to a taxpaying public that’s fed up with their sneaky shenanigans. As more people realize that hundreds of billions of corporate tax dollars have been diverted from government budgets while services are cut for those who need them most, the moral question comes into play.
“Tax avoidance cannot be about morality, there are no absolutes …” Sir Roger Carr protested at an Oxford Business School event on Monday, before heading off to deliver a similar message to the prime minister. “Tax payments are not, and should not, be a down payment on social acceptability.” Ahead of next month’s G8 meeting on tax reform, he urged David Cameron: “Avoid the moral debate – it’s all about the rules”.
Yeah, right. Now that taxpayers and customers are willing and able to “share” their opinions through social media, corporations could find themselves increasingly under siege by “flash mobs” boycotting stores, or calling them out publicly. At some point this has to stop – either the public outrage will finally boil over or national governments will simply run out of money.
Image: by Byzantine_K CC BY 2.0