The lives of 1,000 young children a day are being lost to disease and poverty in poor countries because of illegal trade-related tax evasion, says a new report from Christian Aid.
It has calculated that this evasion costs the developing world at least US$160bn in lost revenue annually. The culprits are companies using false accounting to reduce their tax liability, says Christian Aid.
It claims that if that money was allocated according to current spending patterns, the lives of 350,000 children under the age of five – 250,000 of them infants – could be saved every year.
The sum is almost one and a half times the amount given as aid to the developing world every year. If the amount that is also lost through legal tax avoidance dodges were added, it would be many times greater.
Christian Aid’s report, ‘Death and taxes: the true toll of tax dodging’, looks at the impact of tax dodging, both legal and illegal, on the developing world. It blames the secrecy offered by more than 70 tax havens for widespread abuses, and highlights the role of facilitators, including the big accountancy firms, in promoting their use.