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Country by Country Reporting for Tax Purposes

Richard Murphy has long argued for global taxation agreements or norms to match global trade. He advocates Country by Country reporting to crack down on tax evasion, and worse. This is such a good idea that it is actually catching on, as he writes again in Forbes.


Anyone who lives near a port is familiar with the plimsoll line painted on the side of a ship. A relatively simple logo placed amidships on the hull of every vessel, it marks the depth to which it can be submerged. Despite that, it took years to get it accepted as an international standard. Because the line shows whether a ship is carrying too much cargo in various sea conditions, ship owners hated it, claiming that it would restrain trade. But maritime authorities overruled them. They knew it prevented overloading, cut risk and saved lives.

A wise accountant friend of mine recently suggested there’s a plimsoll line of accounting: country-by-country reporting, the proposed reform of multinational corporation accounting currently being considered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, International Accounting Standards Board and the International Monetary Fund. Like the mark on ships, it shows at a glance the risks in dealing with a multinational corporation in one’s home country. (link to article)

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