We believe that without tax justice there can be no democracy.
Democratically elected governments have duties towards their electors, which they can only fulfil if they have the resources to do so. This is why taxation is so crucial.
In a healthy democracy, electors will trust their representatives to act in the interest of all the people, yet the evidence of growing inequality, not just between countries but within countries, has led to an increasing disaffection with a political system which is seen as serving the interests of the few.
Numerous scandals have revealed that tax avoidance is rife and that it is often facilitated by governments themselves through tax exemptions and tax loopholes which favour multinational companies or wealthy individuals.
Private wealth accumulated in this way has not filled the gap in public expenditure. In the past forty-five years, an unregulated financial system has spectacularly failed us. Instead of directing investment towards long term, socially beneficial projects such as infrastructure, education, research, or growth and job creating, environmentally sound enterprises, it has concentrated on short term gains and speculation.
The socially unproductive profits of this activity often end up in tax havens, jurisdictions characterised by a high level of secrecy, together with the profits accrued from criminal activities such as drug or people trafficking, arms dealing, trade in blood diamonds, stolen art treasures or even body parts.
Short-term, speculative finance has also led to financial crashes which have devastated the economies and societies of whole continents.
This is why Attac advocates a systematic crack down on tax evasion, on tax avoidance and on tax havens, as well as a re-regulation of the financial sector to serve the needs of society at large.
Attac Ireland regards Ireland as a tax haven which we define as a ‘jurisdiction that deliberately create[s] legislation to ease transactions by people who are not resident’ (2010, p. 21).
Click here for the presentation that Attac Ireland gave on the topic of ‘Ireland as a Tax Haven’ at the Attac European Summer University in Paris in August 2014.
The workshop was organised alongside our colleagues in Attac Norway who gave discussed their participation in the ‘Tax Haven Free Zone’ campaign.