Version 0.0.1 (DRAFT)

IV.  Responsibility of non-state and supra-state actors, and the extraterritorial obligations of States. (8-12)

 

13

States, and the international institutions of which they are members, must offer assistance and international cooperation in fiscal matters, and create an enabling environment of global governance, with the aim of achieving the full realization of human rights.

States must:

13.1. Create an international environment enabling the effective realization of human rights in matters relating to taxation and financial regulations, including the fight against illicit financial flows.

13.2. Promote international cooperation with a human rights focus and support national efforts to realize rights. When they receive support programs from international financial institutions, human rights must be respected in the fiscal conditionality clauses and loan conditions must not unjustifiably reduce the State’s capacity to respect, protect, and effectively realize human rights.

13.3. According to their extraterritorial human rights obligations, abstain from any conduct that undermines another State’s capacity to fulfill their own obligations, such as facilitating tax evasion or promoting aggressive tax competition and the resulting “race to the bottom” in taxing multinational corporations. They must undertake assessments of the extraterritorial effects of laws, policies and practices that may unduly restrict the fiscal space of other States, including measures agreed to by members of an international organization.

13.4. International financial institutions and other inter- and supra-state institutions must prove that the economic reform measures they propose will serve to fulfill, and not undermine, the human rights obligations of States; they must refrain from designing, adopting, financing and implementing fiscal measures that directly or indirectly hinder or affect the enjoyment of human rights.

13.5.  When a State makes decisions as a member of an international financial institution, it must consider human rights obligations in order to mitigate the imposition of fiscal policy conditions that could harm those rights, and it must ensure that the policies and practices of international and regional financial institutions promote human rights rather than interfering with them.

 

Guidelines

Based on this principle States should:

1. Incorporate a human rights focus in the negotiation of international treaties on fiscal matters and in their cooperation with tax administrations.
When they are in a position to do so, give economic and technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of the tax authorities of other lower-income countries and enter into international agreements that benefit them.

  • Higher-income countries should contribute to the development of a global database on trade prices so that customs officials are aware of the average global prices of products.
  • Consider their human rights obligations in other international agreements, so that they do not affect the revenue-raising capacity of any parties. 

2. Ensure participatory global standards.
Ensure that the establishment of global standards and decision making on fiscal policy issues take place in contexts in which all countries have the same opportunity to participate and express themselves. 

3. Fight abusive fiscal practices.

Fight the abusive fiscal practices of transnational corporations–such as under-invoicing exports, over-invoicing imports, royalties, intragroup loans and arms-length loans–by combatting the practices of fixing transfer prices and intensifying international cooperation on tax matters.  

  • Compile and publicize beneficial ownership registers, containing information not only on financial results and balance sheets of corporations and their affiliates, but also the names and residence of their shareholders, and registers of final beneficiaries, assets, and property.

4. Halt the “race to the bottom’ in corporate taxes.
Consider the possibility of taxing multinationals as individual companies and that high-income countries could impose a minimum corporate tax during the transition period. 

5. Combat low-tax jurisdictions.
Combat tax havens and impose sanctions and other measures to deter tax payers from avoiding taxes through these jurisdictions.

  •   Create their own lists of tax havens that are used in the effective application of anti-avoidance measures. Lists should be based on solid criteria regarding low effective corporate tax rate, the existence of harmful regimes, and the lack of effective information exchange practices. 

6. Provide automatic information exchange.
Through the creation of a register of beneficial ownership, provide high levels of transparency and enter into effective agreements of automatic exchange of information in order to identify the final beneficiaries of transactions.

  • Establish responsibilities and ensure the full participation and access of all countries to that information.
  • Develop a system of more structured and regular information exchanges that would lay the foundations for a future multilateral and global system of automatic tax information exchange.
  • Make that information public within a specified period of time. 

7. International financial institutions.
International financial institutions should:

  • encourage progressive taxation and use their technical capacity to help governments broaden their fiscal space and their redistributive capacity according to their human rights obligations.
  • contribute effectively to gender equality, with gender impact assessments and by eliminating the risk of negative effects on the human rights of women arising from conditionalities.
  • Analyze not only the probability that a loan may be repaid, but also its effects on the enjoyment of human rights.

Abstain from the application of economic reforms that generally give rise to human rights violations without carrying out an ex ante assessment of its possible impact, and if not, be legally responsible for the rights violations generated.


  

14

Non-state actors, including companies and their intermediaries, have human rights responsibilities in relation to their fiscal conduct. 

Non-state actors, including companies, intermediaries, and professionals of the fiscal planning sector must:

14.1. Refrain from designing, adopting, recommending and financing policies and programs, and implementing corporate practices, that directly or indirectly hinder the enjoyment of human rights, or that exercise undue influence on the fiscal policy of States at the expense of human rights.

14.2. Comply with both the letter and the spirit of tax laws and regulations of the countries in which they operate. They should adopt procedures of due diligence that prevent fiscal evasion and avoidance, and abstain from practices of aggressive tax planning and manipulating transfer prices. Corporations should pay fair taxes in the place where they operate.

Guidelines

Based on this principle States should:

1. Provide due diligence.
Adopt appropriate policies and procedures of due diligence.

  • Present reports disaggregated by country and publish information on the taxes they pay in each country where they operate (“country-by-country reporting”).
  • Design and build internal assessment systems that prevent or mitigate the impact of any tax structure and transaction on human rights.  
  • Corporations should consider fiscal governance and tax discipline as important elements of their control mechanisms and of their risk management systems in the broadest sense. In particular, boards of directors should adopt tax risk management strategies that enable the identification and full assessment of the financial, regulatory, and reputational risks associated with taxation.

2. Undertake impact assessments.
Undertake ex ante and ex post assessments of the impact of their own activities on human rights and on gender equality.

3. Provide transparency.
Take measures to show publicly that they pay taxes in the place where their business operations really take place, and that they do not solely register their profits through legal entities located in jurisdictions with low or no taxes.

  • Publish information that enables interested people to check their taxable income and obtain information on how benefits and returns are calculated and distributed internationally in each jurisdiction where the company has an affiliate or fiscal residence.   

4. Legal and accounting professionals.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Principles of Human Rights in Fiscal Policy. ©2022