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Tax Justice Together

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Mobilising European citizens to place inequality and tax justice at the heart of the European development agenda during EYD2015 and beyond

Tax Justice Together project enabled union of two most experienced and famous NGOs, ActionAid and Oxfam, in addition, it ensured their further collaboration with eight other NGOs in EU and outside of its boundaries. The project is targeting a large amount of population in 16 EU member states and intends to link the experience of Europeans’ of austerity and inequality with Tax Justice agenda.

The core issue which will be addressed by TaxJusticeTogether project is tax dodging costing to developing world $160 billion per year. As the issue is structural and complex, the response should be appropriate, covering local, regional and international level.

This project has identified 3 major problems which should be tackled.

First and foremost the International tax system. In fact, the international tax system is ruled by rich countries (OECD) and is built in a way giving a floor to multinationals to avoid paying taxes legally. These problems are structural in nature and while addressing them it is essential to involve nation-states and encourage intense cooperation between them. As the issue is global, therefore it should be addressed on a global level and all active stakeholders ought to be involved in a discussion table.  However, current G20/OECD initiatives to reshape the international corporate tax rules (BEPS) are unable to solve the issue due to the fact that not all countries  are involved in the decision making.

Secondly,  the issue which we identify as crucially important is Corporate secrecy.

Corporate secrecy facilitates tax avoidance, as it allows multinational companies to shift profits between subsidiaries – frequently through tax havens – without scrutiny. The another major goal of the project is to force multinationals  publicly report key economic data such as sales, turnover, employment and profit on a country by country basis. If this goal is reached, developing country’s authorities and civil society would know where profit shifting and tax avoidance may be occurring and accordingly how to deal with them.

This proposal is under threat as the G20/OECD BEPS process has recommended that this information should remain private – beyond the reach of civil society and likely to be hard for many developing country tax authorities in developing countries to access.

Thirdly, we see tax treaties as another obstacle in this regard.

A key issue in the taxation of multinational companies is the extent to which countries in the global south have the right to tax financial flows leaving their countries. Bilateral tax treaties govern what taxing rights developing countries have, and frequently reduce the rights of poorer countries to tax these flows. Reform of these unfair tax treaties would tackle profit shifting out of poorer countries and allow them to increase tax revenue from multinational companies.

TaxJusticeTogether plans to make following policy changes during next two years.

  1.    Global – The European Union and EU members’ states support the establishment of a global forum for inclusive and fair negotiations on international corporate tax reform.
  2.    Pan-European – more transparency, enabling  large companies to disclose their data. This step would help ensure tax authorities can act to make sure large companies pay tax where they conduct their real economic activities.
  3.    National – a coordinated national level objective will be to push EU member states to commit to shifting taxing rights to countries in the global south through actual implementation of reform of taxation treaties.

TaxJusticeTogether overall objective is the following:  The EU and its Member States shall ensure promotion of fair tax reform which in turn would contribute to inclusive and sustainable growth, reduce poverty and inequality, and advocate fairer relations between developed and developing countries, in the context of the post-MDG consensus. As the High-Level Panel on post-2015 and the European Commission recognise, struggle against corporate tax avoidance and evasion is a crucial step to release sustainable sources of public finance to implement an ambitious post-2015 agenda. This project will be focused on making concrete measures to tackle corporate tax avoidance and evasion, and to reduce inequality. ActionAid research suggests that collecting tax that is currently uncollected could raise some US$520bn additional revenue by 2022.

Specific objective: Increased EU citizens’ critical understanding and active engagement, alongside campaigners in the global South, in pan-European efforts towards progressive and equitable reform of global tax policies, particularly during EYD2015. This project will provide EU citizens to understand and keep an eye on tax policy reform processes, holding decision-makers to their commitments to include developing countries in reform processes and to take their interests into account. It will link EU citizens to their peers in European and developing countries, facilitating joint campaigning for global change and allowing EU citizens to feel part of a pan-European and global movement.

What will our approach be?

Result In one word

1: European citizens (especially aged 21-30) have improved awareness of and demonstrate support for fair and equitable tax systems.    Communications

2: Students, CSOs and their supporters have increased critical understanding of global tax policies, how to engage in the debate about tax policy reform and campaign skills    Training

3: Students, CSOs and their supporters actively engage with efforts to develop progressive pan-European positions on global tax policy reform, in collaboration with activists in the global South    Mobilisation

4: Policy makers in European Parliament and MS make commitments to progressive tax policies that benefit European citizens as well as citizens in developing countries    Influencing

What will our key activities be?

Communication

  • Reaching at least 15 million Europeans with key messaging on tax justice through traditional/ online/ social media and information campaigns
  • EYD2015 Blog Action Day
  • Stories from the global South about the impact of tax injustice on the developing countries
  • Simultaneous media stunts Training
  • Assessment of public perception about tax justice issues
  • 3 Training of Trainer events for CSOs and supporters followed by 55 national trainings training more than 2000 campaigners and activists from Europe and Global South
  • Reaching out to at least 70 schools and Universities
  • Digital learning space for tax justice campaigners
  • 2 campaigners’ conferences

Influencing

  • Tailored advocacy briefings
  • Southern activists lobbying European decision-makers on progressive tax reform
  • 18 high level events organised at key political moments

Mobilisation

  • At least 8000 students, CSO staff & supporters attend 140 tax justice-related events across participating countries
  • Tax Rail Tour with 9 Southern activists traveling across Europe and engaging general public, CSOs and decision-makers
  • More than 20,000 people taking higher level actions which will demonstrate informed support for progressive tax reform
  • 100 separate street actions

In addition to planned key activities, Project partners will identify and implement various coordinated actions in order to respond to key political moments throughout the course of the project. A key benefit of this process is that it allows for opportunities to be taken as and when they arise. The Political landscape is changing and the Project is designed in such a way to provide enough space for flexibility. It also provides an opportunity for partners to harness existing relationships with external networks, by finding exciting and collaborative ways to campaign and share resources.

Where do we work?

  • 16 EU Member states: Belgium; Bulgaria; Czech Republic; Denmark; France; Germany; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Poland; the Netherlands; Sweden; Slovenia; Spain; UK;
  • 3 Southern countries: Nigeria; Peru; Zambia.

Who we are:

Implementing Partners: ActionAid UK; ActionAid Denmark; ActionAid Ireland; ActionAid France; ActionAid Netherlands; ActionAid Sweden; ActionAid Nigeria; ActionAid Zambia; Oxfam GB; Oxfam Solidarite; Oxfam Ireland; Oxfam France; Oxfam Germany; Oxfam Novib; Oxfam Intermon; Glopolis; Demnet; LAPAS; IGO; Ekvilib; Latindadd; Za Zemiata.

Associates: ActionAid International; Oxfam India; Oxfam Mexico; Oxfam International; Platforma MVRO; ChristianAid; ActionAid Italy; EPSU; BPID; IBIS

Project management

Tax Justice Together Project is led by ActionAid UK and it is coordinated by a Central Team based in AAUK, Oxfam GB (UK), Glopolis (Czech Republic) and Oxfam Intermon (Spain). Headed by the Project Manager, Sandra Martinsone, the team is responsible for overall implementation of the Project on an operational level including project coordination, reporting and effective partnership management. The Central Team’s support to the Project partners will be critical in ensuring we reach our targets, making a significant contribution to our objectives, and identifying synergies and opportunities internally and externally.

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