Did you know that for every $10 given in aid to the developing world, $15 slips out through tax dodging?
The situation is stark and urgent. Christian Aid estimates that tax dodging costs poor countries $160 billion a year. This is money that should be spent building schools and hospitals.
This is completely unjust.
Our campaign explained - briefly!
We put together a short, two-page briefing, covering the frequently-asked questions we hear...
What is a tax haven? Where are they? And why are they a problem for poor countries?
It's all explained succinctly in Tax Haven Secrecy - Keeping the poor poor.
Our campaign explained in a little more detail
Tax rules are bananas! Our two-part video guide explains why.
Part two of our video guide
To put a stop to tax dodging by unscrupulous multinational companies, Christian Aid is asking for greater transparency about how much profit multinational companies make - and tax they pay - in the countries that they operate in.
The only solution to stop tax dodging is to increase tax transparency. One way to do this is to change accountancy laws to make country-by-country tax reporting a legal requirement.
Country-by-country tax reporting would mean that every company has to announce how much profit it makes, and how much tax it pays, in each country that it does business in.
It would stop money being taken out of poor countries like Zambia and poured into rich tax havens such as Switzerland.
Part two of our video guide
Doing it by the books?
Multinational companies are really good at finding new ways to make money – that's what they are there for. But some go to unethical, even illegal, lengths.
By reporting just a fraction of the profits they make in poorer countries, and hiding the true amounts offshore, these unscrupulous businesses reduce their tax bills – and cost the developing world billions.
$160bn, in fact.
Enough to reach the UN millennium development goals several times over.
Enough to save the lives of 350,000 children aged five or under every year.
Almost twice the amount poor countries receive in international aid.
In the West, tax revenue pays for basic healthcare, roads and schools.
Many poorer countries struggle to do the same – sometimes because lack of infrastructure prevents them collecting revenue efficiently, and sometimes due to corrupt and unaccountable government.
However, the cloak of silence under which so many corporations are able to operate means billions of dollars leave developing countries without anyone noticing.
What do we want? No more secrets
While the rich world counts the cost of the global economic crisis it is glaring that the collapse of international markets and the drain on poor-country riches share a common cause: secrecy.
Secrecy allowed banks to hide their toxic assets until it was too late.
And secrecy continues to prevent us from knowing in which countries multinational firms truly make their profits – and how.
If the West is serious about poorer countries helping themselves out of poverty, the secrecy has to stop.
We need a new global financial culture. Governments needs to ensure that every multinational declares in which countries it makes its profits and how much tax it pays.
We also need the accounting rules which companies must abide by to change so that there is no more financial secrecy.
Act now!Call on David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Nicolas Sarkozy to end tax haven secrecy at this year’s G20.
Act now!Write to TUI, Vodafone, Unilever and IHG, and urge them to help people in poor countries trace the tax.