Pepsi, IKEA and FedEx are only 3 of over 300 companies to slash their global tax bills with the help of secret deals from Luxembourg, according to findings released from a review of nearly 28,000 pages of confidential documents conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and a team of more than 80 journalists from 26 countries.
“Disclosure of the leaked documents comes at a sensitive time for Luxembourg, a nation with a population of less than 550,000. Amid the EU probe of Luxembourg’s tax deals, former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker is in his first week in office as president of the European Commission, one of the most powerful positions in the EU.
“Juncker, Luxembourg’s top leader when many of the jurisdiction’s tax breaks were crafted, has promised to crack down on tax dodging in his new post, but he has also said he believes his own country’s tax regime is in “full accordance” with European law.” (read more … Via ICIJ.org)
I wonder how many other readers of the ICIJ’s report are pondering the questions that came to my mind.
- Where is the line between legal tax avoidance and tax evasion? Where should it be?
- Legalities aside, is it ethical for giant international corporations to shelter their profits from taxation authorities in the countries where these profits were earned?
To put this in context, think about the following, released in Oxfam’s November 2013 report “Working for the Few”
- Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population.
- The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.
- The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in
- Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in
the last 30 years.
- The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for
which we have data between 1980 and 2012.
- In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis
growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.
(Read more … via Oxfam.org)
For more, see: http://www.icij.org/luxleaks Video produced by ICIJ in partnership with the Pulitzer Center.