Each day, Barbara faces a stark choice – going hungry or facing crocodiles. Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam
Who pays for tax dodging?
They say nothing is certain except death and taxes – but who's really paying the price when big firms and wealthy individuals don’t pay their fair share of tax?
It’s ordinary tax payers like you and Kyohairewe, a coffee producer in Uganda. She pays her taxes but the roads are in such a bad condition that she struggles to bring her coffee to the market. Governments the world over are missing out on billions due to tax dodging by multi-national firms – money that could be paying for better schools, hospitals, infrastructure and tackling poverty.
Tax dodging hurts ordinary people everywhere, but it affects poor people the most. Developing countries lose three times more to tax havens than they receive in aid each year. The money lost is enough to end world hunger twice over.
Barbara is a widow who lives in Zambia. She lives in poverty, like three-quarters of the population. One of the reasons inequality in Zambia is so bad is because global tax rules allow multinational mining companies to generate vast profits from their operations in the country, whilst paying very little tax.
Every day, Barbara faces a stark choice – hunger or crocodiles. She walks for hours to gather water in a crocodile-infested river to irrigate her crops and feed her two children, 10-year-old Gertrude and Edward aged five.
Barbara knows that things could be different. “We are better off if we are all at the same level,” she says. “If we were all equal, we could all have control of our own affairs.”
If everyone paid their fair share of tax, people living in poverty like Barbara and her family could have their basic needs met and the opportunity to change their futures.
Closer to home, the Irish Government have been told by the European Commission to reclaim the €13 billion which Apple avoided paying in tax. Imagine what €13 billion could do to improve the lives and livelihoods of people here in Ireland and in developing countries!
It's time to Even It Up
Right now, the 8 richest people on the planet have the same wealth as the 3.6 billion poorest who make up half the world’s population. Meanwhile, millions of people struggle for food, water and shelter.
Our research shows that 200 million more people will be in extreme poverty by 2030 unless we act now to address economic inequality. What’s more, the ever-increasing gap between rich and poor is making inequality between men and women even worse. It’s time to Even it Up.
The toxic global tax system is driving inequality – it helps the rich get richer by letting some companies and wealthy individuals legally avoid paying tax while the poor pay the price. As long as tax dodging continues to drain state coffers, there will be little money to spend on vital public services and the resources needed to tackle poverty, put children in school and prevent citizens dying from lack of healthcare.
Find out what happens when poor countries lack funds for basic services like health and education:
Help us shine a light on tax dodging and tackle the root causes of poverty and inequality.
Support our work with people in poverty
By donating to our work worldwide, you’ll be helping families like Barbara’s in Zambia. Irene lives in the same rural locality and is part of an award-winning banana farm supported by Oxfam. She faced the same problems as Barbara but no longer has to live in fear of hunger.
“Oxfam provided a water pump and training,” Irene explains. “When we first harvested bananas, I was extremely excited. I spent the money on a celebration with my children. We bought food. Now, I get the benefits from the work I put in. I can send my children to school and food is not an issue.”
It’s time we were all equal. Please consider donating to our work today and help us to Even it Up.
This webpage has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this webpage are the sole responsibility of Oxfam and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.