Over the past 20 years, many of the large corporations listed on the London Stock Exchange have paid tax at rates significantly lower than headline rates in many countries around the world. This often means that governments have less funding to provide public services and to reduce poverty. The picture is complex – the ‘race to the bottom’ does not affect all companies equally – but opaque accounting practices and the widespread use of tax havens suggest that some companies are engaging in tax avoidance. This discussion paper looks at the evidence for 25 of the largest London-listed companies and explores what measures could be taken to improve transparency and ensure that they pay their fair share.
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