Government fails to tackle global tax avoidance

Less than a third of people trust Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to crack down on global tax avoidance despite government pledges

The survey, conducted by Yonder on behalf of the Co-operative party, the sister party of Labour, spoke to 2,069 people and found 75% believe that the UK should play a leading role in tackling global corporate tax avoidance.

An overwhelming majority (80%) also believe that companies like Amazon, which have reported higher profits during the Covid-19 pandemic than high street stores, should contribute more tax towards the recovery with 82% believing that businesses should pay tax in the country in which they make their profits.

The poll also found that 43% of those surveyed did not trust Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take on big business interests and tackle global tax avoidance.

The lack of public faith comes as pressure mounts on world leaders to reform the global intangible low taxed income (GILTI) to end decades of abuse by multinational firms. President Joe Biden wants to set a global base corporate tax rate of 21%, up from the current 10.5%, then calculating this rate on a country-by-country basis. Biden has also put forward plans to limit the ability of large corporations to shift profits overseas.

That move comes as part of talks taking place between 139 countries negotiating tax reforms at the OECD with an aim to reach an agreement by the middle of this year.

On Tuesday Sunak said that he wanted to reach a deal. Speaking at an event held by the Wall Street Journal, he said the UK was ‘open to having a package’ that involved rules to end profit shifting and establishing a global minimum corporate tax. But he also added: ‘The devil will be in the detail, and that’s what we’re working through now.’

The UK led on global tax reforms with the launch of a digital services tax last year, although Sunak has faced criticism for a relatively muted response to the Biden plans so far.

According to the Co-op party poll, 65% were in support of President Biden’s plans and nearly half (45%) believe that government failure to work with the US and other nations would damage the UK’s position on the world stage.

Ruby Flanagan |Reporter, Accountancy Daily

Ruby Flanagan is reporter on Accountancy Daily. Contact her on

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