Tax transparency and country-by-country reporting

An overview and comparison of the transparency initiatives

The debate on tax reporting continues. New transparency rules have just been adopted by the SEC in the US and proposals will be considered by the European Parliament this autumn. Contributions made by business to the public finances of a country are essential to enable governments to fulfill their obligations to promote economic and social development. It is not surprising therefore that there is wide-spread interest in the payments which are made by companies and received by governments.

In the wake of the global economic downturn, the need for economic and political stability has intensified the calls for greater transparency and a perceived need to strengthen accountability and good governance for both governments and business.

There are a range of transparency initiatives currently in force or being proposed: the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act in the US, proposed EU Directives on Transparency and Accounting, proposals made under the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) banner, and more comprehensive country-by-country reporting for all multi- national companies which is being called for by a number of civil society organisations. It is important for companies to closely monitor these developments and to be actively involved in the debate about the aims of tax transparency and what makes good tax reporting. Attached is a briefing document we have developed to help you to do this and to provide you with the latest position.