Tax is a hot issue right now, and so it should be. In the last year a multitude of global companies have been exposed as Tax Dodgers and splashed across the front pages accordingly. They are channelling vast amounts of profits into tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of tax and in the process, are denying developing country governments of vital income needed to pay for public services.
In July, ActionAid cemented its reputation as one of the world’s leading tax avoidance critics by launching a new campaign called Tax Power. The global campaign will, by the end of the year, include more than 20 countries where ActionAid works – from Ghana to Australia, Denmark to Bangladesh. All will be united in their call on governments to end tax incentives and start making businesses pay what they should.
ActionAid hit the headlines with new research that showed US$138 billion is lost to tax breaks every year - enough to send all children to primary school with money left spare.
The campaign was covered by TV, radio, online and in print – here is just a small selection of coverage so far:
ActionAid Australia kicked off with the coverage in the Sydney Herald with a full page article. Around 240 Australian mining companies operate in Africa and ActionAid is one organisation of many applying pressure on the Australian government to tackle tax avoidance. The story was picked up by more than 20 other regional newspapers.
Meanwhile ActionAid made headlines in the Post Zambia estimating the government there loses US$3.6million per year as a result of tax incentives provided to businesses. ActionAid Zambia are becoming increasingly vocal on tax following their successful collaboration with their UK colleagues to expose massive tax avoidance by Zambia Sugar.
In Ghana, ActionAid also launched the Tax Power campaign and secured coverage in the Ghana Business News. Country Director Adowa Kwateng Kluviste explained tax avoidance activities are “socially indefensible because they make it difficult for governments to provide the needed services for development” - a sentiment echoed around the globe by our tax experts and campaigners.
The extensive international media coverage is a fantastic start to our global campaign and we’re confident there’ll be plenty more in the days, weeks and months to follow.
It’s incredibly inspiring to know that people around the world, just like you and me, are reading the same stories in their own newspapers -whether over morning coffee or on their commute home from work. Hopefully they too are feeling empowered and enthused to join our campaign and call on governments to end tax avoidance.
If we stand in solidarity now, and put pressure on the people that govern us, eventually we will see more children go to school, more mothers give birth safely and less people can go to bed hungry at night - now that really would be Tax Power.
To see what else ActionAid got up to for the launch and to become part of the campaign, just click here!