How can we tax footloose multinationals?

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Joseph E. Stiglitz, the winner of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences / Feb. 14, 2019 / ejinsight on the pulse

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In the last few years, globalization has come under renewed attack. Some of the criticisms may be misplaced, but one is spot on: globalization has enabled large multinationals, like Apple, Google, and Starbucks, to avoid paying tax.

Apple has become the poster child for corporate tax avoidance, with its legal claim that a few hundred people working in Ireland were the real source of its profits, and then striking a deal with that country’s government that resulted in its paying a tax amounting to .005 percent of its profit.

Apple, Google, Starbucks, and companies like them all claim to be socially responsible, but the first element of social responsibility should be paying your fair share of tax.

Since its inception, the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project has made an important contribution to rethinking the taxation of multinationals by advancing understanding of some of the fundamental issues.

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(RP: see Base erosion and profit shifting on the OECD website.)



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