PWYP Norway has commented the new GRI-report (Global Reporting Initiative) on tax and payments to governments.
GRI is an independent international orgniasation which has taken a lead on sustainability reporting since 1997.
GRI stands for Global Reporting Initiative. GRI says about itself that «helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate the impact of business on critical sustainability issues such as climate change, human rights, corruption and many others". And "The standards enable organizations to measure and understand their most critical impacts on the environment, society and the economy". GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards is developed with input from several actors and anchored in the public interest.»
The GRI writes that in "In 2017, the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB) initiated a project to develop new disclosures related to tax and payments to governments, which will be considered for incorporation into the GRI Standards.». The GSBB is an independent standard etting part of the GRI.
The GRI writes further that "The aim of this work is to help promote greater transparency on a reporting organization’s approach to taxes. Making tax data more widely accessible will help build stakeholder trust and contribute to better-informed policy and investment decisions. To this end, a multi-stakeholder Technical Committee of experts appointed by the GSSB began its work in January 2018 to develop disclosures on tax and payments to governments."The draft GRI Standard Tax and Payments to Governments is the outcome of the TC’s work over this past year, and is now available for public review and comments".
Read: GRI’s «Disclosure on Tax and Payments to Governments».
Here is a brief summary of PWYP Norway's comments:
- All units that are fully consolidated should be named (Line 426 in the draft standard)
- All entities named should identify whether they are consolidated using full consolidation or one line consolidation (equity method)
- Number of employees must be standardized on FTE or provide both FTE and total (Line 444 in the draft standard)
- It should not be possible to adjust up or down the number of employees (lines 448-449 in the draft standard). The figures listed in the consolidated accounts must be used without exception.
- Instead of "Corporate tax paid cash-based" (Line 474 in the draft standard) reported in CBC reporting of taxes, PWYP Norway has proposed that Corporate tax on profit for the year, Taxable 1.1. (beginning year) and tax liability 31.12. (end year) as the following equation results in Corporate tax paid in cash: Corporate tax on profit for the year + Tax liability 1.1. - Tax liability 31.12 = Corporate tax paid in cash.
- Instead of "Significant Tax Incentives" (Line 478 in the draft standard), PWYP Norway has proposed that a more accurate measure be included in the standard: g. Tax incentives that changed the decision to invest. This would mean that if companies did not report the tax incentive, then the tax effort was unnecessary. If tax incentives are reported, it can be assessed against other companies reporting tax incentives, and over time, a picture can be taken of which tax incentives are important to companies, and which tax incentives are not important, and which companies are important to taxation.
- In the country-to-country standard (Line 465-478), PWYP Norway has commented that Norwegian regulations in the Accounting Act are the earliest and which reporters and users have gained the most experience.
- The measures htat PWYP Norway has suggested that the GRI standards includes on the basis of hte Norwegian regulationss, are:
- Production (by type)
- Cost (exluding depreciation)
PWYP Norway has also commented that it is critical that eliminations are reported separately, otherwise the countries do not support reporting.
Will all submissions be published?
GSSBs protocol requires received submissions to be public. The GRI is still collecting submissions and have not yet set adate for submissions online.
The public consultation endskommentarperioden 15th March 2019.
More information and project updates can be found on the GRI's project site.