The race to the bottom

Corporate tax income is an indispensable source of government revenue for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in developing countries.

But 12 European governments have either just cut corporate taxes, or are planning to do so – part of a costly and destructive global ‘race to the bottom’. If the current trend continues, the global average corporate tax rate will hit zero per cent in 2052. While corporations pay less, consumers pay more.

Consumer taxes hit the poorest hardest, with the risk of exacerbating inequality rather than reducing it.

The international tax system remains full of loopholes, and the political process to stop corporate tax avoidance resulted – at best – in half-hearted solutions.

Furthermore, secrecy remains a key obstacle to tax justice. Information is hard to get, and whistleblowers who expose corporate tax dodging risk prosecution.

Meanwhile, developing countries have been side-tracked in the global decision making, and a large block of EU countries remain opposed to finding a truly global solution to these problems under the auspices of the United Nations.

Click on each country to see how it performs

Country ratings

Each country (plus the European Commission and European Parliament) has been ranked against five key measurements:

Recommendations

Tax policies

Governments and EU institutions must:

  • stop the race to the bottom on corporate taxation
  • promote progressive tax systems to counter rising inequality
  • ensure tax policies promote gender equality and are fully in line with policy coherence for development

Transparency

Governments and EU institutions must:

  • abolish secret shell companies and anonymous trusts by establishing public registers of owners
  • introduce full public country by country reporting for all large multinational corporations
  • ensure full and effective exchange of information between all governments

Decision-making

    Governments and EU institutions must support:

  • all international decision-making on tax matters being fair and transparent
  • the participation of all countries on a truly equal footing
  • an intergovernmental decision-making process that allows full access for observers

This report is dedicated to the memory of
Daphne Caruana Galizia – a courageous journalist and researcher who dared to speak truth to power.

Her extensive investigations into the Panama Papers and numerous other sources exposed high-level corruption in Malta.

Daphne was killed in a car bomb attack near her home in Bidnija, Malta on 16 October 2017.

This report was produced by civil society organisations in countries across Europe, including: