Alex Cobham ■ beyond20: A new strategic framework for the Tax Justice Network
This year we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the formal launch of the Tax Justice Network. The last two decades have seen some transformative steps forward. But the world remains characterised by pervasive tax injustice, denying fairer societies and human rights to us all.
There are important opportunities too. Since last year we’ve been taking stock of progress, scanning the horizon and engaging with allies and partners in the wider movement. Now we’re delighted to be able to publish our new strategic framework, setting out a vision for tax justice – and the mission of the Tax Justice Network in our third decade.
Our vision is of a world in which all people can enjoy the full benefits of tax justice. Tax is a social superpower. Tax generates revenues to fund public services and effective states more broadly. Tax provides the main means of redistribution to eliminate harmful inequalities. Tax is the glue in the social contract, that underpins inclusive political representation. Together, these channels make tax crucial to how we organise ourselves as societies, instead of living nasty, solitary, short, brutish lives alone. Tax justice creates the potential for well-funded states that deliver for us all.
If you share the idea of a better world that we’re aiming for, please consider supporting us financially. Our income is a tiny fraction of those who oppose tax justice, and we make every bit of it work for a better world.
A crucial element of this work is to highlight the convergence of interests between people in countries at all income levels. Tax justice is not a zero-sum game: we can all live better lives if we reprogramme the international system to work for us, not against us.
Our mission is to contribute to creating the conditions for achieving tax justice by challenging false narratives, and normalising bold, progressive proposals. Our role is to provide consistent, credible research and analysis of tax abuse and the necessary responses, disseminated globally through a powerful communications platform and through international advocacy in close collaboration with the wider movement.
Our values underpin our work and inform our decision-making. We strive to be just, reflective and bold. We seek to act with humility and integrity.
The intellectual engagement through which ideas and stances evolve, is and will remain crucial to our ability to shift prevailing narratives and make policy progress. Engagement in a spirit of respect and openness allows us to be held accountable and to ensure rigorous challenge to strategic and tactical decisions, to technical work and to policy stances.
Our policy platform is summarised as the ABC DEFG₃ of tax justice:
- The ABC of tax transparency (Automatic information exchange; Beneficial ownership transparency through public registers for companies, trusts and other legal vehicles; and public Country by country reporting for multinationals);
- The DE of domestic measures to ensure transparency results in effective accountability (Disclosure of sufficient public data, and Enforcement by well-resourced and operationally independent tax authorities);
- The FG₂ of international elements (Formulary apportionment with unitary taxation, to end corporate tax abuse by ensuring that profits are taxed in the location of the real, underlying economic activity; Governance reform, centred on the establishment of a genuinely, globally inclusive process for the setting of tax rules and standards, under UN auspices; and a Global asset register (GAR), to connect and broaden the range of beneficial ownership registers across all legal vehicles and high-value assets, across jurisdictions, to provide a critical tool against abuse of tax, regulations and sanctions); and
- G₃, Good taxes – a catch-all covering a progressive and effective overall tax system, and significant individual components of the tax justice agenda including wealth taxes, climate-related tax measures, excess profits taxes and minimum effective tax rates.
The ABC DEFG₃ is laid out more fully, along with our theory of change in the strategic framework document available here. We warmly welcome further inputs and discussion.