In a letter to the G20 finance ministers before the International Tax Symposium on 9 July, organizations representing a half billion Christians worldwide urged that it has never been more urgent and necessary to fix our broken global tax system.
Photo: Marcelo Schneider/WCC
The World Council of Churches, World Communion of Reformed Churches, Lutheran World Federation, World Methodist Council, and Council for World Mission urged strong social protection measures in all countries to ensure that the poor and vulnerable are able to weather COVID-19’s unprecedented health and economic consequences.
“The pandemic has revealed once again the importance of people’s access to essential health care and basic income security throughout their lives,” reads the letter. “To date rich countries have spent 35.6 percent of their GDPs on responding to the health emergency and supporting employment and businesses.”
In contrast, low-income countries were only able to expend a meagre 6 percent of their GDPs on fighting the pandemic and are even now struggling to meet the demands of protecting their citizens, the letter notes.
“As the most sustainable source of revenue, tax systems have a pivotal role to play in bolstering social sector initiatives and financing the recovery from the crisis,” the letter continues. “We acknowledge recent efforts by the international community at tax reform, not least the G7 proposal for a 15% global corporate minimum tax.”
The endemic injustices of global poverty, racial inequity, health inequality and climate change are rooted in the legacies of colonial exploitation and resource extraction, and call for systemic change, urges the letter. “The pandemic shows us people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake, at a time when the life of the earth is also under threat, the letter reads. “Not only is tax justice at the heart of any recovery plan, it is crucial for mitigating widening inequality and stepping up to the challenges posed by a rapidly warming climate.”