Big tech accused of avoiding $ 2.8 billion in taxes for poorest countries | Company

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Big U.S. tech companies are exploiting loopholes in global tax rules to avoid paying up to $ 2.8 billion (£ 2.1 billion) in taxes a year in developing countries, according to a study by the Anti-poverty charity ActionAid International.Facebook, Google and Microsoft have been accused of failing to pay a fair amount of taxes in poor countries where governments struggle to provide even basic health care or education to their citizens.

ActionAid International said its research showed that the revenue lost due to the “tax gap” could have been used to pay more than 700,000 new teachers or 850,000 primary teachers.

There is no evidence that tech companies are breaking the rules or actively evading tax. ActionAid said potential taxes are being lost due to the inability of world leaders to implement global tax standards that would force multinational companies to pay more tax in the countries where they generate their income.

“Little is known about the amount of taxes these companies currently pay in developing countries, as they are still not required to publicly disclose this information,” ActionAid said. “This research shows, however, that billions could be at stake in the long-awaited reform of international business taxation – enough to transform underfunded health and education systems in some of the world’s poorest countries. . ”

David Archer, ActionAid International spokesperson on global taxation, said: “Women and young people are paying the price for an outdated system that has enabled big tech companies, including giants like Facebook, [Google parent] Alphabet and Microsoft, to accumulate huge profits during the pandemic, while contributing little or no to public services in the countries of the south of the globe.

“The $ 2.8 billion tax gap is just the tip of the iceberg – this research only covers three tech giants. But on its own, the money that Facebook, Alphabet and Microsoft would pay under fairer tax rules could transform public services for millions of people. “

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India, Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria and Bangladesh are the countries with the highest tax differentials for these three companies. The World Health Organization estimates that the 20 countries studied by ActionAid must employ at least 1,790,000 more nurses by 2030 to reach their goal of 40 nurses per 10,000 people. These shortages could be fully covered in just three years if global tax rules allowed for fair taxation of these three big tech companies and if revenues were allocated for this purpose.

Tech companies did not respond to requests for comment.

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