The latest scandal about offshore tax avoidance has prompted debate about whether these activities are legal or illegal. From a human rights perspective, it is abusive behaviour
The article is authored by Matti Kohonen, Principal Advisor – Private Sector, Christian Aid, United Kingdom and first published by Lawyers for Better Business website
The lawfirm Appleby, whose leaked client information comprises the Paradise Papers, maintains that it has done nothing illegal and so do many multinationals. Pascal St. Amans, head of OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, commented that “this is a scandal of legality”, and that changes made to the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project should be implemented.
In contrast, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, the UN Independent Expert monitoring the impact of illicit financial flows on human rights, observed: “Wealthy individuals and international corporations are continuing to engage in unethical practices, reducing their tax burdens to minimal levels by using tax havens, which undermines the realisation of human rights.”