The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Taxation of Multinational Corporations:
A Deception

Nov 8, 2021

Excerpts from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in France.

The G20 meeting in Rome at the end of October gave a green light to the global taxation of multinational corporations at 15%. Have the leaders of the most powerful capitalist states on the planet become supporters of making the rich pay? Not really.

Behind the attempt to institute this world tax—which is still far from being successful—there is first of all a maneuver by the imperialist governments to take in as much as possible of the tiny share of profits that big corporations agree to pay in the form of tax.

When it comes to taxation, capitalists are believers, but not practitioners. They want governments to levy taxes to fill public coffers, which companies will draw from while managing to pay as little as possible themselves.

And in this game between the capitalists and their own governments, the richest are the most powerful. In France, the corporate tax rate is officially 26.5%, but the effective tax rate of France’s stock market giants is less than 10%. This figure is still far from the reality, as the largest groups such as TotalEnergies negotiate their taxes in secret with the government.

Today, the average corporate tax rate around the world is 22%. In 1985 it was 50%! By introducing a minimum general tax of 15% globally, even though governments claim that they will get more money from multinationals, overall they have moved further in the direction of an average lowering of this tax rate.

Globally, the rivalry between capitalist governments also plays a role in recovering tax money from these companies. Above all, with this reform, the governments of the richest countries, and first of all the United States, have pulled quite a caper on the others. According to one study, of over 200 billion dollars in additional tax revenue expected due to this global agreement, 95% would fall into the coffers of the governments of the developed countries, including 40% for North America (United States, Canada, Mexico) and 40% for countries in the European Union.

This makes it easier to understand why the leaders of the G20 welcomed their “historic agreement.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel even specified that it is a “clear signal of fairness.” The representatives of the great powers were all satisfied with their share of the loot!