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Tax transparency by multinationals: for whom and why?

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Most large businesses I talk to are broadly happy with disclosing more information but are less clear on what form the disclosure should take and who would benefit from this disclosure. Tax authorities, shareholders, NGOs and customers all have differing requirements from this information, and it is not clear that simply providing more data will solve the problem of perceived tax avoidance by multinationals. Without a detailed understanding of each country’s tax rules and the business activities of the entities subject to tax, how would a third party know whether an entity has made the correct level of tax payments in a country? The focus for the future should be on promoting greater transparency between national tax authorities, supporting developing countries in the collection of tax revenues, and improving the quality of narrative.

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