Taxing into the wind
International Tax Review is part of Legal Benchmarking Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX
Copyright © Legal Benchmarking Limited and its affiliated companies 2024

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

Taxing into the wind

It's been more than three years since I last had the privilege of writing the editorial in this fine magazine. But after something of a hiatus editing a current affairs magazine, covering such cheery topics as international terror, climate change, North Korean nukes and Donald Trump, I have returned to the world of tax. And what a time it is to be back.

As I write, I am sitting in a lecture theatre in City, University of London where the Tax Justice Network is holding its annual conference. Here, the mood is optimistic. Yes there are threats to everything these activists hold dear – Brexit, the aforementioned Trump, a global race to the bottom on corporate tax rates and social protections. But there is also a palpable sense that I'm sitting in a room full of people who know they're winning.

When I first started writing about tax seven years ago, ideas like country-by-country reporting and automatic information exchange were commonly considered by those in the international tax community as fringe concepts entertained only by radicals. Nothing to take seriously, nothing that would ever see the light of day.

Now these things are as mainstream as motherhood, apple pie and Ed Sheeran.

International Tax Review might have been covering these issues long before anyone else, but in recent years the general press has caught on with their headlines dragging company after company through the mud over accusations they have not been paying their fair share of tax. Multinational corporations, as a result, often have one eye on reputation now when it comes to their tax reporting. But more importantly, the public awakening to the importance of tax in the light of recession, austerity and squeezed living standards, spurred by leaks and media revelations, has stirred the international community into action and it responded with BEPS, making CbCR the norm.

But BEPS was just the beginning. Days before this issue went to press, the European Parliament voted to adopt public CbCR. Across the room from me, Richard Murphy, the accountant who invented the standard, looks like a man who's just achieved his life's ambition. But he's not going to stop there. He has just called for a revolution, overturning the fundamentals of the international political and economic system so it works fairly for all.

These are big words from a characteristically fiery campaigner. Can it be done? Almost every prevailing force of global finance that has operated since Reagan and Thatcher ushered in the last great revolution in economics is lined up against such ideas. But even the smallest of boats can tack into the wind. And if the last few years have taught us anything, it's that a small band of hardened activists, academics and economists can change the world.

It's good to be back.

Salman Shaheen

Managing editor, International Tax Review

salman.shaheen@euromoneyplc.com

more across site & bottom lb ros

More from across our site

New requirements for advisers to inform clients of any relevant matters that might impact their relationship have raised concerns from a raft of professional bodies
The fallout from PwC China’s Evergrande audit has reportedly hit the firm hard; in other news, the US and Turkey look to reform their corporate tax rates
Canada risks inflaming US trade relations in a presidential election year and increasing costs for consumers, according to local experts
Dudbridge, ForrestBrown director and head of its advisory practice, FB Consulting, tells ITR about the joys of tax advisory work, what he finds most exciting about the role and what makes tax cool
A UK court rejected Tills Plus’s claim for R&D tax credits due to a lack of technological advancement
View the Social Impact EMEA Awards 2024 shortlist and join us on September 12 at The Waldorf Hotel in London
The announcement is due to be made during the country’s Union Budget statement next week, according to reports
Around 30 roles are to be cut as the firm’s tax controversy and disputes practice will be incorporated into its tax division
The Labour Party has made ambitious commitments to close the UK’s ‘tax gap’, but how can they do it, and what will it mean for business?
The refreshed leadership team does not include Paddy Carney, who previously made headlines for her dual role on PwC Australia’s and PwC International’s boards
Gift this article