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Christian Aid supporters taking action on tax justice

Tax justice

Together we must expose the scandal of corporate tax dodging, so that developing countries can pay for essential public services

Corporate tax dodging is unfair: it keeps people trapped in poverty.

We all pay our taxes, which our governments take and invest in local services and infrastructure. But some multinational companies can get away without paying what they owe.

Tax dodging costs developing countries an estimated $300bn every year in lost revenues. These funds could be used to provide clean water, healthcare, education and many other essentials that we take for granted. And in developing countries, these services can make the difference between life and death.

The unbelievable thing is that big corporations often do this legally, by taking advantage of tax rules that are currently rigged in their favour. The secrecy in the international financial system is an added bonus for tax dodgers.

Where has all the money gone?

Watch this short film to find out how and why corporate tax dodging has become such a major obstacle to fighting poverty:

What we're aiming for

To achieve true tax justice, we need to break down many barriers. Through our advocacy and campaigning on tax justice we aim to:
 

  1. remove the loopholes that allow corporate tax dodging  
  2. create a transparent global financial system 
  3. lift the veil of secrecy off the international tax system. 

Find out about or work on tax justice

If you would like to stay in touch with our campaigning on tax and other issues, please email Sorley McCaughey in the Republic of Ireland on smccaughey@christian-aid.org or David Thomas in Northern Ireland on dthomas@christian-aid.org.

Our tax campaign achievements

Christian Aid campaigners dress up as Pinstripe Pirates to highlight the problem of corporate tax dodging.

2009

The huge cost of tax dodging in poor countries is revealed by our Pinstripe Pirates. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) now estimates that developing countries lose up to $300bn a year – more than three times the global aid budget – as a result of tax dodging.

Christian Aid campaigners hold the Tax Superhero Awards in 2010 to highlight the damage caused by tax dodging to companies at the annual tax awards in London.

2010

Our Tax Superhero Awards highlight the damage caused by tax dodging to companies at the annual tax awards in London.

Tax of Life - tax report image

Christian Aid Ireland publishes our tax report, 'Tax of Life: How Tax Dodging Undermines Irish Support To Poor Nations', at a time when nobody else was talking about tax as an issue for developing countries. It resulted in the Department of Finance, Irish aid, and the Revenue Authority being summonsed to appear before an Oireachtas committee hearing to respond to the recommendations of the report - the first time ever that these three institutions had to come together on the issue of tax justice.

Campaigners outside the Holiday Inn in Belfast

2011

Christian Aid directed our tax campaign at four companies in the FTSE 100 , calling on them to lead the way in tax transparency. Stunts around the country – like this one outside the Holiday Inn in Belfast – open doors and discussions in company headquarters to help us push positive tax policy at a higher level.

Launching the Trace The Tax campaign in Dublin

We launch Trace The Tax campaign in Dublin, calling on Unilever Ireland, Vodafone Ireland and the government to support our campaign for greater tax transparency and country-by-country reporting.

Ricardo Barrientos with the Christian Aid tax bus

2012

Ricardo Barrientos from Guatemala joins us on the Tax Justice Bus Tour to explain to church groups and politicians around the UK and Ireland how tax dodging is affecting developing countries. The bus tours for 53 days, attracting media coverage and gaining support from TDs, MPs and MLAs with some even starting their own tax campaigns.

Bairbre Smith is presented with her prize by Peter Byrne

Christian Aid Ireland launches a tax cartoon competition and the winner, Bairbre Smith, is presented with a specially commissioned cartoon drawn by Martyn Turner, of the Irish Times, about corporate tax dodging.

Campaigners draw attention to tax havens, by setting up a mock tax haven island, in Belfast's Botanic Gardens

2013

Tax becomes a prominent feature of the ‘IF’ campaign  during the G8 meeting in Enniskillen — with tax dodging shown to be a major driver of hunger and poverty in developing countries. Here, campaigners create a tax haven island in Botanic Gardens, during the Big IF Belfast event, drawing attention to the billions of dollars that Africa loses to tax dodging each year.

After two years of lobbying, the Irish government agrees to carry out an analysis of the possible impact of Ireland’s tax rules on developing countries, citing Christian Aid Ireland as one of the principle motivators behind its decision.

Dave Thomas poses outside Leinster House in Dublin with three Russian dolls

2014

As part of our Phantom Firms campaign, more than 20,000 people write to then Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, persuading him to take action on the secrecy of UK company ownership. Here, our Russian doll businessmen appear outside Leinster House in Dublin to highlight how companies can hide their identity within shell companies.

Campaigners highlight money lost to tax dodging by calling on Treasury and Shadow chancellor to implement Tax Dodging Bill after UK general election.

2015

Campaigners call on the Treasury and Shadow Chancellor to implement a Tax Dodging Bill after the UK General Election. While no such bill is passed, a number of its elements – such as the so-called ‘Google tax’ – are put forward independently by the UK government. These features show just how mainstream the issue of tax dodging has become in a very short time.

Dr Philip Alston at Christian Aid Ireland tax conference in Dublin, 2015

Christian Aid Ireland organises a conference investigating the link between tax and the realisation of human rights. The UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Dr Philip Alston, was the keynote speaker.

Christian Aid lobbies Máirtín Ó Muilleoir on tax justice

2016

Christian Aid's Sourced campaign, called for local councils to ask tough questions of the companies they deal with to ensure they were not dodging taxes. In Northern Ireland, six councils signed up to the campaign, as well as the Central Procurement Department, part of the Department of Finance. Christian Aid staff met with Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, MLA who was finance minister at the time.

Not without cost Christian Aid tax justice booklet

2017

Christian Aid Ireland published our response to the Irish government’s analysis of the impact Ireland’s tax rules on developing countries. The report is a front page story in the Irish Times and covered extensively in media across the country. It was discussed and debated in the Dáil and Seanad.

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