July 19 - As G20 finance ministers and central bankers gather in Moscow, the global economic recovery, stimulus programmes and tax are firmly on the agenda. Ciara Sutton reports the G20 is backing a plan which aims to close loopholes which allow multinationals like Apple and Google to avoid billions of dollars in taxes.
Loopholes which allow multinationals like Apple and Google to avoid billions of dollars in taxes may not be around much longer, if the G20 gets its way. The group of leading economies, meeting in Moscow has released a two year plan that says things have to change. French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER PIERRE MOSCOVICI SAYING: "It is clear that multinational companies developed an unprecedented know-how for minimising their world-wide tax pressure." Google, Apple and others say they follow the law wherever they operate and pay what tax is due. Tax specialists say companies have a duty to shareholders to organise their affairs in a legal, yet tax-efficient way. But large budget deficits and public anger at companies' tax arrangements - have forced governments to act. British Chancellor George Osborne. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH CHANCELLOR OF EXCHEQUER GEORGE OSBORNE, SAYING: "There's a clear commitment from the leading economies of the world to progress this agenda, and I don't want to anticipate the communiqué that we'll be talking about over the next two days but I do anticipate some progress." All OECD members including Switzerland, Ireland and the Netherlands - which have been described as tax havens by lawmakers, have backed the plan. IG Index Market Analyst Brenda Kelly agrees it's time for change. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) IG MARKET ANALYST BRENDA KELLY SAYING: "I think the main thing that needs to be addressed is changing the laws. There's no point in complaining about tax evasion if there is a legal loophole to do it and I do feel as well that the tax accountants that help the multinational companies to do this also work with the governments so they're well versed in what loopholes there will be. So that's one area that needs to be addressed but will probably not be." The long-awaited report sets out a number initiatives for arming tax authorities around the world with the tools to crack down on the areas most exploited by multinationals.