25 February 2013

Tax and development hypocrisy watch

New rule - people who don't pay tax are not allowed to lecture anyone else about the importance of paying tax for development. This includes UN Assistant Secretary-Generals writing op-eds critical of multinational companies engaging in legal tax avoidance.
"An effective tax policy that ensures adequate domestic revenue is a crucial determinant of a country’s ability to pursue development policies. But tax revenues in most developing countries are low, impeding progress toward more balanced, inclusive, and sustainable economic development that can improve public health and raise standards of living." -- Jomo Kwame Sundaram
Genuine question - is there actually a good reason that I am just unaware of that the UN shouldn't pay tax?


Matthew Collin said...

Given that UN funding comes from member state contributions AND the UN is often involved with aid, isn't the suggestion that workers pay tax a little circuitous? Rich countries could just lower their contribution rates or demand that UN workers get paid less (if that's what is offensive to you). Rather than impose taxes, the UN could just transfer more money to developing countries. Obviously within countries there are reasons why we think it's good for citizens to pay tax above and beyond the need for revenues (social contract and all that), but I can't really see this applying to UN workers.

rovingbandit said...

It's no more circuitous than domestic public sector workers paying tax in virtually every country. I suppose I have an implicit model in my head in which there is learning-by-doing in administrative processes, including tax administration.

Anon said...

It's Secretaries General.

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