A RELUCTANCE to discuss morality has hamstrung the debate about
tax, despite the fact that "we often know what feels right," an
audience at St Mary-le-Bow heard on Tuesday night.
Presenting Tax for the Common Good, a new report on tax
and morality, Toby Quantrill, Christian Aid's principal adviser on
economic justice, suggested that it was "nonsense" that you could
not talk about morality and tax. We often know what feels right,
but we are reluctant to talk about that," he said. "NGOs can spend
too long on details, working out what our opponents may say and how
to take that apart."
He suggested, for example, that the exclusion of developing
countries from the process of tackling tax avoidance, led by the
OEC, "does not feel like a very moral process".
The report, which includes several essays, and input from Brazil
and South Africa, argues that multinational companies may have a
moral duty to pay more tax than the letter of the law requires of
In 2008, Christian Aid estimated that developing countries were
losing as much as US$160 billion each year from tax avoidance -
more than they receive in aid.
'It might be
legal, but is it moral?' - Comment