Beyond paying taxes: corporates have the potential to play an important role in tax system reform

The joint PwC and World Bank Paying Taxes study encourages governments around the world to reform and improve their tax systems. This year we included an article in the Paying Taxes publication entitled: A Role for Corporates in Tax System Reform. We interviewed a number of representatives of multinational corporations, international financial institutions, tax authorities and NGOs. The aim of these interviews was to explore the role of the private sector in tax system reform from multiple perspectives. Firstly, the task was to identify whether there is a role for corporates in providing assistance with tax system development and, if so, what that role could be. We found there was the potential for corporates to play a role, but there are barriers to corporates in providing such assistance. It was important then to explore whether those barriers could be overcome.  

Through our interviews, it was clear that some corporates are interested in supporting tax system reform but find that it is not always easy to know how to offer their support in a way that isn't misinterpreted. Companies' involvement with governments of developing countries has historically been sensitive due to perceived conflicts of interest, criticism for interfering in developing countries' tax affairs, and accusations of corruption and bribery. The sense we have is that these barriers are not insurmountable, as companies are already beginning to overcome the obstacles identified in innovative ways, acknowledging there is a positive impact if they are involved in the right way. Our article highlights that there are a number of steps that can be taken to mitigate the barriers and enhance collaboration between all stakeholders.   

The article is a conversation starter to encourage the international community to consider how they might work together in new and innovative ways to tackle some of society’s toughest problems. I would very much encourage anyone interested in this area to have a read and to contact me with their thoughts.

The article is available at this link:

Amal Larhlid
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