An idiot's guide to tax

An idiots guide to tax

Water water, everywhereWhat do people in the developing world want? Well, the same as people anywhere.

  • They want education for their children.
  • They want good healthcare.
  • They want clean water.

Do you agree? These things really aren’t much to ask for in 2012 are they? So how come countries like the UK have these simple, yet essential services and developing countries don’t? One simple three letter word: T-A-X.


Tax helps governments to fund essential services needed to improve living standards, but some big businesses across the globe aren’t paying the amount they owe. This means that developing countries are losing at least 160bn a year*. This is one and a half times the annual, global aid budget!

We want everybody, and especially big businesses to pay what they owe in the countries where they work. We want to see an end to tax dodging!

How do they get away with it?

In one word: secrecy!

The global financial system is riddled with secrecy and loopholes that enable big businesses to move money through tax havens where they can avoid paying tax on their profits.

Here's a film which explains this in a bit more detail (Part 1 of 2, a link to part two will appear at the end of this one):

How does this affect people in developing countries?

Zambia Copper Mine

Take Zambia as a prime example: Zambia is the seventh largest producer of copper in the world. Huge demand for copper from places like China has seen the global copper price soar and yet Zambia remains trapped in poverty.

The average life expectancy is only 49 years.

This is highlighted in Zambia’s copper mining region where there is only one doctor for a population of 45,000 people.

Mining companies in Zambia may owe as much as $1 billion in unpaid taxes, according to the Zambian government. Imagine what $1 billion could do for the millions of Zambians denied proper health or education services and struggling to survive.

"These minerals are our minerals, they’re Zambian minerals. God put them in this country. And when investors come here we want a fair deal. We are looking to these resources to help the nation out of its state of poverty." - Rev Suzanne Matale, Zambian Council of Churches

What can we do?

We need to breakdown the layers of secrecy that allow companies to dodge tax so we're calling for companies to be more transparent and for world leaders to end tax haven secrecy.Tax bus

This year we're all about the ENOUGH FOOD FOR EVERYONE IF campaign. Head to our Take Action pages to see what you can do now.

*This is a Christian Aid estimate from our 2008 report 'Death & Taxes'

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