Crumbling economies must tackle tax evasion to meet coronavirus crisis, experts warn

With governments racked by colossal costs due to the coronavirus pandemic, experts say tax evasion is cast in a stark new light.
As emergency coronavirus medical and social programs lay bare economic and social deficiencies around the world, experts are calling for a more forceful tax response to the crisis.

They said the dramatic spike in jobless claims combined with the vast additional burden on health systems should be a tax call-to-arms for governments internationally.

The pandemic has highlighted global reliance on digital and pharmaceutical behemoths, and at the same time should shine a spotlight on their tax behavior, said Rasmus Corlin Christensen, a researcher with the International Centre for Tax and Development.

“Digital giants [and other companies] have been exploiting the international tax system, using its legal opportunities to reduce their tax burden and design their business model around minimizing their tax bill,” Christensen told the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. “There is this mismatch between the important role that they play in our society and their tax behavior.”

Now that governments are facing an economic meltdown, they are confronted with a reality that many economists and tax justice advocates have been warning about for a long time: more than $800 billion in lost tax revenues, annually.