SouthViews No. 189, 17 January 2020
Enabling and Benefitting from Tax Avoidance: The Case of Canada in Africa’s Extractive Sector
By Alexander Ezenagu, PhD
The treatment of multinational entities as separate entities for tax purposes is incompatible with economic reality. As such, multinational entities are able to erode tax bases and shift profits to low tax jurisdictions. Due to the base erosion and profit shifting activities of multinational entities, African countries struggle to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – to eradicate poverty, invest adequately in infrastructure and its industries, significantly reduce illicit financial flows and strengthen domestic resource mobilization – as they rely heavily on corporate taxation for a large part of their public revenue.
If African countries are to achieve their SDGs, there is an urgent need for a new international tax system that aligns where economic activities occur with where profits are taxed. A practical alternative is the unitary taxation of multinational entities. Unitary taxation treats multinational companies as a single entity, allocating the global profit to the jurisdictions where economic activities occur and value is created.
This article calls for the purposeful study of the unitary taxation approach to income allocation and serious consideration of its merits by the relevant supranational bodies. (more…)