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Christian Aid report calls for morality talk about tax

24 October 2014

CHRISTIAN AID/M GONZALEZ-NODA

Learning: a school in Ethiopia 

Learning: a school in Ethiopia 

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 them.

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

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