The last day of my internship at Oxfam Novib after 4 months being a part of Governance and Financial Flow unit has arrived. The experience has been very much enriching to say the least. My main task in this internship was to conduct desk research on corporate tax avoidance structures of multinationals that negatively affect tax revenues in developing countries. The work is a part of the big campaign of banning the practice of tax haven which has been a part of Oxfam Novib’s priority theme against inequality. I have the privilege to contribute in collecting data and building case study that shows how multinationals make use of the tax benefits provided by some (tax haven) countries to avoid paying higher tax to developing countries.
Inequality is something definitely very close to home for me. I found inequality to be an important issue that drives many social and economic problems in developing country. Coming from Indonesia as the biggest archipelagic state in the world, I live within inequality and I am always interested to explore tax mechanism as one of the powerful tools that can reduce or instead further away this economic gap. On the other hand, living in the Netherlands as the country considered as tax haven brings even wider perspective for me in the role taxation.
Therefore, it was actually an easy decision for me to apply and decided to do this internship 4 months ago. I am actually proud to contribute in the work which cause I feel deeply important. I presented this case among some of the staff in Oxfam Novib in my last day of internship. At the end, the case shows strong indication of a multinational company that avoids paying tax in developing countries. The company actually have a regional hub in tax haven country and most likely utilizing it to pay lower tax. I feel that I become more aware of many practices that could be done by multinationals to actually widen income inequality. Many countries are racing to provide the best environment for investment such as by lowering corporate tax rate which unfortunately often ended up in developing countries to be harmed by it. Tax is a powerful tool to promote equality but I also learn it is very challenging to obtain such strong evidence for tax evasion, especially in with current availability of data in developing countries. More work is definitely needed to be taken to provide an evidence-based research that could bring policy implications to ban the practice of tax haven.
All in all, I am glad I can be a part of the team to discuss inequality further and contribute in striving towards fair taxation. It is certainly not an easy, short term task to promote equality and present developing country with more opportunity to grow but I am thrilled to have given an opportunity to experience a small part of it. The learning experience in Oxfam Novib is definitely showing how much needed to be done in terms of reducing inequality in the world but it is also encouraging to know that many people are aware and working towards it. Knowing all these facts about inequality that is happening in the world now actually allows me to reflect and be more committed to do my part in any way I can to reduce inequality.
By Christal Setyobudi – Intern on Fair Taxation. Learn more about Christal here!