Coinciding with the leaders’ summit of the G20, this weekend in Saudi Arabia, the NGO Tax Justice Network has published its report “The State of Tax Justice 2020” that figures in more than 360,000 million euros what countries stop entering due to tax evasion strategies practiced by multinational and wealthy companies around the world .
This is not exactly tax fraud. Is about evasion: of how they take advantage of the legal loopholes allowed by the countries to pay less taxes. Above all, through tax havens, where assets and income are hidden. But also by moving the tax return to countries with less taxation, even if it is not there where the workers and the business of those companies are.
The data have been constructed from the information that 26 countries have provided to the OECD on the activity, country by country, of 4,000 multinationals. Spain did not provide its data. But those of the other 26 countries on the business and employment of its own multinationals in Spain and about the taxes they pay here, have allowed to put in 1,500 million the tax evasion of these companies, including large technology companies, in the country. Based on other variables, it is estimated that the rest of the multinationals, including the Spanish ones, could be avoiding at least another 1,000 million. If the calculation affecting tax avoidance by wealthy individual taxpayers is added, the NGO’s estimate of tax evasion in Spain rises to about 3.7 billion a year.
For the authors of the report, it would already be scandalous to speak of an evasion of this caliber in the world, and in Spain, before the pandemic. But it is much more so now, for insufficient public resources to stop the health, economic and social drama caused by the virus and because all citizens expect more than ever the intervention of their governments.
This report is the NGO’s way of asking the G20 leaders to end tax havens, which in many cases are just appendages of their countries. And to also ask that progress be made in two eternal unfulfilled objectives of the G20 itself: that multinationals pay taxes where they have their activity and a tax for technological activities, easy for fiscal relocation and true winners of this pandemic. To put a face and an eye to the figures, Tax Justice Network estimates that with the 360,000 million evaded in the world, the salaries of 34 million nursing people could be paid. In Spain, the 3,700 million evaded would allow paying 107,390 nurses.