Commitments

Publish combined and country-by-country reporting of multinational companies in open, machine-readable format

What are illustrative commitments

About this Commitment

Amibition Level

  • Advanced Step

Sources of guidance

Requires new legislation?

  • Sometimes

Justification

The requirement for combined and country-by-country reporting by multinational companies is now well established on the international policy agenda. There is also growing pressure for such information to be made public, and not only held privately by tax authorities, since openness in this regard is seen as important for public confidence in both tax authorities and companies (Murphy, 2012).

As noted, there is broad agreement that multinational companies should be publicly accountable through transparency about where they operate, and in the form of at least some limited data on the scale and nature of their activities in each jurisdiction. One important feature of publishing this data, rather than keeping it private for tax authorities, is that it would demonstrate appropriate tax being paid, and help to restore public confidence that large companies are paying their share. In addition, the principle of ‘many eyes’ would help both to reduce errors and, potentially, to highlight anomalous reporting.

Recommendation

  1. Publish combined and country-by-country reporting information provided by multinational companies online in a fully machine-readable format.
  2. Where possible,  join up reporting facilities with other countries to provide a single data access point (or, failing that, multiple sources with a consistent reporting structure and format).
  3. Cooperate internationally to create a single, harmonised system of unique corporate identifiers.

Other References

  • Murphy, R., 2012, ‘Country-by-country reporting: Accounting for globalisation locally’, Tax Research UK, http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Documents/CBC2012.pdf

Standards & Guidance