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TAX JUSTICE

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21-25 Nov: Join the Global Days of Action for Tax Justice in the Extractives 2022

 

The Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ) and its regional networks Tax and Fiscal Justice Asia (TAFJA), Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA), and Red de Justicia Fiscal de América Latina y Caribe (RJFALC) will host the Global Days of Action for Tax Justice in the Extractive Industry from 21 to 25 November, 2022. The 4th edition of the campaign builds on the demands that the GATJ members have been pushing for since 2019, and calls more specifically for excess profits taxes on oil, mining and gas companies.

 

The continuing impacts of the global pandemic and the climate crisis have spawned a glaring gap between a tiny set of winners and the majority of the world’s population. In 2022, net profits of the 40 largest mining corporations grew by 127% from the previous year, surpassing their pre-pandemic revenues by more than double. However, few people benefited from the boom: research shows that there was a 130% rise in dividend payments and rewards for top executives, whereas many lost their homes, incomes and livelihoods.

 

Reports by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) expose that mining corporations systematically shift profits and wealth through corporate manoeuvring and shell companies registered in low-tax jurisdictions. On top of these illicit financial flows, they reveal the extent of regulatory capture by mining interests, involving patronage and corruption in processes of securing mining licences.

 

Social movements, particularly in climate, labour and gender justice, have been raising proposals for the extractive sector to operate responsibly with communities and the environment. Building connections with these demands, this campaign brings the perspectives of tax justice and the broader economic justice movement, calling for a rights-based economy that puts people and the planet at the centre of discussions and decision-making. 

 

“The global crises make closing tax loopholes and raising more public revenues more urgent and imperative. However, the extractive sector continues to be given free rein to extract resources and profits with neither limits nor regard for social and economic costs or for irreversible environmental impacts,” said Dereje Alemayehu, Executive Coordinator of GATJ. “In addition to the profit shifting and illicit financial flows rampant in this sector, facilitated by the broken global tax governance and lack of regulatory and transparency mechanisms, the extra profits being generated by those benefiting from the crises remains untaxed. It is high time to take urgent and rigorous measures in the extractives sector to raise more revenue: stopping the perverse flow of resources from low-income to rich-OECD countries; scrapping tax giveaways, curbing loopholes and tax abuse, as well as immediately introducing tax on extra profits. An inclusive and equitable recovery will only be possible through tax justice.”

 

Global tax justice calls

The global tax justice movement calls on governments and multilateral institutions to:

  1. Stop illicit financial flows and tax abuses in the extractives sector;

  2. Tax the superprofits of extractives corporations by instituting windfall profit taxes;

  3. Curb tax incentives granted to the extractives industry;

  4. Make extractives companies pay their share in taxes and immediate costs of rehabilitation and rebuilding;

  5. Use taxes for peoples' needs, especially for the needs of communities affected by social and environmental damage; and

  6. Protect and uphold the rights of workers and women affected by mining, including their rights to defend their communities.

 

Programme 

18 NOV | 11 am Pretoria
Online event: Resource Backed Loans and Collateralization of Mineral Resources
Organisers: Afrodad and Tax Justice Network Africa

The webinar seeks to pinpoint Africa’s over reliance on mineral resources as the primary commodity export. This overdependence on mineral resources could be a result of IMF’s fiscal consolidation country advice on debt management and how resource-rich countries that are in debt distress are forced to resort to RBLs as a way of financing their debt. Through this online discussion, we seek to analyse whether resource backed loans and collateralisation of mineral resources are a sustainable financing option for African countries and showcase how the current multilateral and international financial system contributes to a vicious cycle of dependence on RBLs.

Registrations: bit.ly/GDOA-tax-extractives-2 

 

21 NOV | 2 pm Central European time
Launch event: Tax extractives excess profits NOW!
Organisers: Global Alliance for Tax Justice, Tax and Fiscal Justice Asia, Tax Justice Network Africa, Red de Justicia Fiscal de América Latina y el Caribe

The Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ) and its regional networks kick off the Global Days of Action for Tax Justice in the Extractive Industry 2022 with an online round table, in which panellists from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and North America will discuss the main issues each region has been facing with the extractives, as well as what could be achieved through tax justice and, more specifically, excess profits taxes in the sector. 

Registrations: bit.ly/GDOA-tax-extractives-1

 

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WEATH TAX WEB BANNER

Labor Leaders Gather to Push for Wealth Tax and Progressive Tax Reforms

 

In an unprecedented move, more than 160 Philippine trade union leaders and tax justice activists from different parts of the country gathered in a forum to discuss wealth tax as a response to the worsening inequality in the country. 

Held on November 5, 2022 the forum had for its theme “Buwisan ang Bilyonaryo, Hindi ang Obrero!” (Tax the Billionaires, Not the Workers!) and was jointly organized by the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) and the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP).

Speakers led by Lidy Nacpil of APMDD and Ka Leody de Guzman of BMP discussed the necessity of pushing for a wealth tax to fund peoples’ recovery amidst the economic, health and climate crises facing the people. 

While the living and working conditions have worsened for the majority of Filipino citizens, especially the working class, the top 50 wealthiest individuals in the country have seen an almost 30% combined increase in their wealth. Combined with the drastic increase in the country’s poverty incidence, this represents an upward transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top. This has been facilitated by, among other things, the Philippine government’s regressive taxation policies, characterized by the imposition of excise taxes and value-added taxation (VAT) on a whole range of goods and services, including basic commodities. 

More than 100 participants, including  34 trade union leaders and tax justice activists attended the assembly in Quezon City, even as 70 participants from BMP chapters in Negros, Cebu, Ormoc, and Bicol joined remotely.

Rey Abella of APMDD said consumer-related taxes such as VAT depletes the income of ordinary people, especially workers living on minimum wage. He said that VAT is regressive because it hits the poor more as taxes on consumer goods cut a bigger share of their income compared to the rich, especially billionaires.

BMP chairperson Leody De Guzman said the wealth of the billionaires and the capitalist  class that came from the exploitation of workers are illicit, thus, they must be held accountable by taxing them through a wealth tax.

He said that the burden of  raising revenues for government spending should not be passed on to the poor and working class who are already heavily burdened by neoliberal policies such as privatization of basic social services.  

APMDD coordinator Lidy Nacpil said that “aside from benefiting from regressive taxation, the super-rich are able to evade paying taxes through illicit financial flows (IFFs), particularly by exploiting tax havens in other countries.”

Labor lawyer and BMP president Luke Espiritu denounced the prevailing exploitative practice of  capitalists and businessmen giving only minimum wages to workers.  He said government-mandated minimum wages should only serve as a reference point, or “floor price” or a “limit”. Instead, capitalists should use the minimum wage as a basis for paying workers a liveable wage.

Manjette Lopez, president of the multi-sectoral alliance Sanlakas said that there is an urgent need to transform organized masses in poor communities as active partners in the progressive transformation of political, social, and economic life, and not just mere recipients of aid or ayuda. 

She warned of the unstable global situation characterized by stagflation where prices of commodities continue to rise even as economic growth is slowly grinding to a halt. 

Emma Garcia of BMP Kababaihan (BMP Women) said that women workers face harsh working environments and only receive the minimum wage, yet a major part of their income goes to paying taxes on household consumer goods. She noted the significance and  timeliness of the wealth tax forum as workers fight for  a more progressive taxing system.

The labor leaders saw the need to cascade the concepts learned during the forum  to local unions and localities to build a grassroots initiative for the fight for wealth tax. 

De Guzman reiterated during the open forum that the wealth tax is not the sole advocacy and campaign that will be carried out by BMP, but it is one of the most important issues they have to bear in order to eliminate inequality and other labor-related issues workers are facing. He said  dismantling the neoliberal economic paradigm and pro-elitist, pro-capitalist system is still one of the most important goals the proletariats must achieve.

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PRESS STATEMENT

28 September 2022

 

Reject the OECD/G20 BEPS Tax Deal of the Rich! UN Tax Convention Now!

 

WhatsApp Image 2022 09 28 at 6.59.48 PM

The Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) welcomes the support of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for calls for a UN Tax Convention, recently reiterated by Finance Ministers in Africa and by civil society organizations across the world.  This is a step in the right direction towards fixing the fundamental flaws of the international tax architecture and upholds the rights of Global South countries not only to their tax and fiscal sovereignty, but also to raise revenues and rebuild economies in the face of  multiple crises that have sharpened under the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

A Tax Convention under the auspices of the United Nations accords meaningful participation and representation of Global South countries in the creation of international tax rules, unlike the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Inclusive Framework being pushed by the OECD and G20. We have long pointed out that the two pillars of this supposedly inclusive framework in reality excludes the concerns and interests of developing countries.

 

Pillar One of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS accords the right of taxation on excess and non-routine profits largely to Global North countries where large multinational corporations are headquartered, rather than to the countries where the bulk of their labor and assets are located. Pillar Two sets a miniscule global minimum corporate tax rate of 15%, which strengthens the position of wealthy corporations and individuals to lobby their governments to accelerate the race-to-the-bottom in corporate taxation downward from the global average of 25%.

 

The two pillars of the BEPS framework have been developed and are being pushed by OECD members, many of whom also belong to the G7 and the G20, exclusive clubs of the world’s top economies. The creation of the BEPS framework is fundamentally undemocratic and seeks to impose global tax and fiscal rules only by virtue of the outsized economic influence of its primary advocates. The interests of developing countries and economies are, at best, assumed to be served by the framework, or at worst, deliberately excluded to the benefit of essentially maintaining the status quo within the international tax and fiscal architecture. 

 

The OECD/G20 BEPS framework amounts to a Tax Deal of the Rich, and it is for this reason that we emphatically reject it and call on governments and civil society around the world to likewise reject it. We, along with a growing number of Global South governments, peoples’ movements, and other civil society actors and organizations, have long argued for a UN Tax Convention as a democratic, transparent, and inclusive alternative process for international tax reform, and it is encouraging that the UN Secretary-General has expressed support for our alternative.

 

Our call to move towards the adoption of UN Tax Convention is not just a matter of sovereign rights, but a practical matter meant to deal with various forms of inequality on the international level. A UN Tax Convention can pave the way for Global South countries to strengthen their domestic resource mobilization, allowing them to increase funding for critical public services such as healthcare and education, and to support the creation of dignified livelihoods that contribute to national economic growth, the strengthening of living and working standards for ordinary people, and just and sustained adaptation to climate change. 

 

By engendering conditions to strengthen domestic resource mobilization capacities through a UN Tax Convention, Global South governments can reverse longstanding austerity policies that have deprived billions of people of their economic, social, and political rights, and which have contributed to the various debt crises around the world, most recently in Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

 

A UN Tax Convention also provides an opportunity for international tax reform that recognizes the complicity of wealthy individuals and large corporations (both national and multinational) in global illicit financial flows. Such entities have long taken advantage of tax havens in the Global North that rob developing countries of their resources and the fruits of their citizens’ labor. IFFs can be comprehensively tackled in negotiations through the strong representation and participation of Global South voices in a UN-sanctioned international convention.

 

The establishment of a democratic, transparent, and inclusive UN Tax Body through a UN Tax Convention is a matter of great urgency. We applaud the recognition offered by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to convention proposals backed by Global South governments and other stakeholders, and we further appreciate the recognition offered by the Secretary-General to the necessity and ability of Global South countries, particularly those in Africa, to lead the process. The challenge now is to actually convoke the convention.

 

While the calls in support of the proposal are only getting stronger, it must become even stronger and sharper to ensure that the convention will be held in the soonest time possible, and that any Tax Convention that will be held will accord Global South countries and stakeholders nothing less than the strong voice it rightfully deserves. 

 

Furthermore, any Tax Convention to be held cannot afford to reiterate or incorporate the two pillars of the OECD/G20 BEPS Framework, but should reinforce the rights of Global South citizens to reap the benefits of their labor and resolve inequalities within their countries. We call on governments to commit to pushing for the immediate convocation of a UN Tax Convention, with the participation of civil society and all stakeholders across the Global South. 

 

The demand to address inequalities in global tax rules and rulemaking is one of the key tax justice demands raised by movements, peoples’ organizations, and CSOs in the recently concluded Asian Days of Action for Tax Justice for People’s Recovery last 23 to 24 September, during which activities and actions were held in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Philippines. 

 

Now more than ever, we need international tax reforms that promote welfare and strengthens the human rights of billions from the Global South who have suffered the brunt of the multiple crises worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Reject the OECD/G20’s Tax Deal of the Rich! 

UN Tax Convention now!

WhatsApp Image 2022 09 28 at 6.54.29 PM

 

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Note: 
The following photo and video may be used with credit to APMDD:

-Link to photo action in New York during the Asia Days of Action for Tax Justice: : https://www.facebook.com/apmdd/posts/pfbid035LCnFsjCDKMYkbFskrBzrQRTL8TeAvPBijF2wDLdm4ucSRc7fvD2GNjAwboW1eeHl

https://twitter.com/AsianPeoplesMvt/status/1573659686888706048

 

-Link to a video of APMDD coordinator, Lidy Nacpil, supporting a UN Tax Convention 

https://www.facebook.com/apmdd/videos/468213268567458/

https://twitter.com/AsianPeoplesMvt/status/1573659675027210240

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Tax Justice Now, towards Ending Inequalities And Building People’s Recovery and Resilience

 

The multiple crises brought to the fore by the pandemic have widened inequalities that had already been present and worsening before the COVID-19 outbreak. Any serious attempt at ensuring peoples' recovery and addressing inequalities would require bold and decisive actions that strike at the root causes of inequalities and multiple crises.

 

Longstanding inequalities cannot be addressed without giving immediate attention to the ability of countries, especially those of the Global South, to raise revenues and deploy the resources needed for robust public support systems for health, for education, for dignified livelihoods, and other basic needs. This is not simply a matter of responding to public demands for basic services, but a fundamental question of how peoples' recovery is understood.   It is not about simply stabilizing economies and societies just enough to return to the status quo ante, to old policies and patterns that had been part of the root causes of inequalities and the drivers of multiple crises. Rather, it is about placing people’s rights and needs front and center, and ensuring the inclusion and empowerment of the marginalized, of those who have been left most vulnerable to the worst effects of the multiple crises

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What is needed is to decisively address the various dimensions and root causes of inequality and build genuine and transformative peoples’ recovery and resilience. This requires building the essential foundations for states to ensure that people’s basic needs are met especially when natural or man-made disasters strike, and for people, including the most vulnerable, to be better able to prepare for, survive, respond to, recover from crises, and take charge of their lives and future. 

 

To move toward this direction, the neoliberal tax and fiscal policies which have provided a key foundation for the dramatic rise in inequalities around the world must be rejected. Regressive taxation such as Value-Added Taxes (VAT) and/or Goods and Services Taxes (GST) cannot play a part in a peoples’ recovery, as it impacts the working class and women the worst and severely undermines their resilience. Tax exemptions and cuts for the wealthy and for large corporations both local and international must be repealed by governments. Tax abuses by corporations and the elite and other types of illicit financial flows that drain public coffers of resources for peoples’ needs must be stopped.  Progressive policies that fairly and sharply tax the income and wealth of corporations and the elite – like wealth tax – and must be adopted to accelerate domestic resource mobilization for peoples’ recovery and economic rebuilding. 

 

Economies around the world must be restructured and reoriented away from servicing the profit-driven agendas of  MNCs and wealthy elites and towards serving people’s basic needs and rights and ensuring that development’s social and economic benefits are distributed equitably. Women’s contribution to economic and social life must be fully recognized and justly rewarded.  A Peoples’ Recovery must seek to socialize and redistribute the often-unrecognized reproductive labor of women. The care and well-being of society should not be borne in private by any single gender, but by all of society.

 

There can be no such restructuring of economies without the reversal of long-standing austerity policies which have emptied funds for the basic public services of Global South countries. These policies have been forced into being often in order to service onerous debts which find their roots in Global North countries’ exploitation of their former colonies.  Tax abuses by corporations and the elite and other illicit financial flows (IFFs) must be stopped. The fundamental flaws in the international tax architecture and in global tax rulemaking that disadvantage developing countries and impact negatively on the peoples of the Global South must be fixed. Elite and gender biases embedded in national fiscal and tax systems, as well as in the global tax system,  must be corrected.  Ensuring peoples’ recovery and building resilience require thoroughgoing policy and institutional and structural reforms that favor the interests of ordinary people and the planet, not the wealthy. We need fiscal and tax systems that contribute to ending inequalities and building people’s resilience. We need an inclusive and transformative peoples’ recovery! 

 

This September 23, 2022, we hold the Asian Day of Action for Tax Justice to amplify peoples’ demands from countries across Asia and the Global South for urgent tax justice towards ending inequalities and building genuine Peoples’ Recovery and resilience in the face of multiple crises. 

 

We demand an end to unjust tax burdens on women and marginalized sectors. It is time for governments in Asia and the Global South to shift the burden of taxation from the poor to the rich. This would entail the enactment of progressive taxes such as wealth taxes as well as effective measures to stop corporate tax abuses and other types of illicit financial flows that rob governments of much-needed revenue for public services. Large corporations, especially multinational corporations, must pay their fair share to the countries and peoples whose natural resources, knowledge and labor (paid and unpaid) are exploited for their profit and wealth accumulation. 

 

Increased revenue from progressive taxation must be allocated towards financing quality and gender-responsive public services, including those that aim to reduce and redistribute unpaid care work.  Taxing the wealthy and ensuring that corporations pay their fair share without stringent governmental support for public needs means that only the most superficial of inequalities will be addressed.

 

Finally, we fully recognize the international dimensions of tax and fiscal justice. Reforms at the national level are not enough. We call for an end to inequalities in global tax rules and rulemaking that  continue to favor wealthy countries, corporations, and individuals.   Such inequalities remain blatantly evident even in reform proposals, such as that of the OECD/G20’s so-called “Inclusive” Framework on Base Erosion and Profit-Shifting (BEPS) project, which promotes corporations’ and elite countries’ agenda and which does not serve the interest of developing countries and peoples of the Global South. In handing the right to tax the “excess and non-routine” profits of multinational corporations to their countries of registry and not to those where the bulk of their extraction, employment, and sales occur, and by setting a paltry 15% global minimum corporate tax rate closer to the norm in tax havens than the global average, the BEPS project has amounted to nothing more than a Tax Deal of the Rich. 

 

No exclusive club of the world’s richest economies can advance a serious agenda of international tax reform given the fact that it is they who benefit the most from the status quo. We eagerly join the growing ranks of Global South governments and civil society all over the world in their call for a UN Tax Convention that addresses the unjust tax and debt relations between developing countries and the developed. It is the right of all countries, especially those of the Global South, to advance their interests through inclusive and transparent channels. Such a convention must give way to a truly inclusive, democratic, transparent, and accountable inter-governmental mechanism for tax governance, or a UN Tax Body, where all countries stand on equal footing. 

 

At this crucial junction in the economic, social, and political life of our world, heeding the call for systemic changes in our global tax and financial systems and economies is needed more than ever. To advance a Peoples’ Recovery is not only just, but practical. Pervasive elite biases within these systems have left billions of women and other marginalized gender identity groups (LGBTQI+), workers, youth and students, and others vulnerable to the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, while large corporations and wealthy individuals have consistently made record-high profits, especially over the past two years. These starkly political inequalities have played no small part in the unfolding tragedies of Global South countries like Sri Lanka and Pakistan, with many more in danger of following suit if changes are not made now.

Make Taxes Work for People and Planet!

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WEALTH TAX WEBSITE COVER 2

P R E S S   S T A T E M E N T 

24 August 2022

Released during the webinar “Wealth Tax for Tax Justice: A Call Whose Time Has Come!” 

Tax the Rich, Not the Poor!: A Call to Institute A Wealth Tax 

 

As inequality and poverty grow in the Philippines, in Asia, and across the globe, so too does the call for a wealth tax. 

A wealth tax is a potent tool for equality and justice. A wealth tax is a tax on the market value of assets owned by an individual taxpayer rather than on his/her income. Taxable assets may include cash, bank deposits, shares, land, real property, cars, and furniture. By taxing the wealth of high net-worth individuals and not just income, governments will be able to raise more domestic revenues for funding essential public services that are needed so urgently today. 

Groups based in the Philippines calling for a wealth tax are advocating for one of the most direct ways to stem inequality by reversing the highly regressive tax system that governments across Asia have long depended on to sustain basic public services. Regressive taxes such as Value-Added Tax (VAT) and excise taxes have long been known to hit those with smaller incomes harder, and have thus helped to widen the gap between poor and rich, women and men, marginalized sectors and influential elites. 

Governments across Asia have combined this reliance on anti-people taxation with austerity measures that have gutted funding for public services year-on-year. At a time when state provision for healthcare, education, green infrastructure, and other basic public goods are so crucial to sustain the lives and livelihoods of billions, the continuation of regressive taxation and austerity cannot be accepted.

Around the world, wealth inequality has been rising to historic levels within the past decade. This trend has been abetted by governments that have doggedly pursued neoliberal policies to accelerate growth. They are working with the simplistic assumption that the bigger the economic pie, the more people will benefit. The failure of this assumption has been made glaringly evident time and time again, most recently in the World Inequality Report 2022, where the richest 1% of individuals all across the globe have raked in a whopping 38% of the world’s total economic growth since the 1990’s. In the same timeframe, the bottom 50% have received just 2% of economic growth. To call these crumbs is an insult.

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed and widened the global economic divide. If governments across Asia and the world want to build back better from the pandemic, if they want to ensure sustainable development in the coming years, if they want to adapt to climate change, if they want to make good on their promises to their citizens, then they must end their dogged dependence on neoliberal austerity and regressive taxation. Now is the time for bold and decisive action to tax the rich and not the poor!

Proposals for a wealth tax have now been introduced in both houses of the Philippine Congress. While there are different formulas proposed, legislators would do well to undertake bold action towards progressive taxation, and heed people’s demands to ensure that revenues collected will be used to fund crucial public services, including health and education services and social protection for the poorest sections of society.

APMDD joins many movements who are urging legislators and policymakers to establish wealth taxes as vital  policy instruments for economic and social recovery from COVID-19. In the face of the multiple gripping crises we face, the struggle to bring about a people’s recovery is a test of governments’ political will and capacity to reduce social inequality and realize socio-economic justice. 

A wealth tax will:

  • help governments raise more domestic revenues to fund public services, and make health and education more accessible and available for all, and ease the tax burdens that fall most heavily on marginalized sectors.

  • help curb inequalities, by sharply taxing the wealth of billionaires (and millionaires), and help curb the continuing amassing of wealth, profits and power in the hands of an elite minority at the expense of the majority.

  • help generate public finances so urgently needed for a just, inclusive, transformative and sustainable people’s recovery.

  • help build stronger, resilient, sustainable economies that move away from aid and debt-dependence.

As the region prepares to host the summits of G20 this year in Indonesia, and next year in India – which together represent the world’s largest economies – we turn our attention to the growing inequalities in the Asian region, and the deepening divide between the economies of the richest countries and the cash-strapped economies of developing countries that are barely able to make public services available to all, even as they are home to some of the world’s richest billionaires. 

By adopting progressive tax policies such as a wealth tax and fixing the fundamental flaws in national and global tax systems that are currently marked by elite biases, national governments and the international community will be in a better position to reduce inequalities and fulfill their sustainable development commitments and human rights obligations. 

APMDD calls on its members and partners across Asia to vigorously campaign for tax and fiscal justice and demand adequate public funding for a just, inclusive and sustainable people’s recovery. APMDD enjoins its members and partners to amplify the growing call for the immediate adoption of progressive tax policies such as a wealth tax, to curb inequalities, lessen the burden of taxation for marginalized sectors, generate adequate domestic revenues for public services and build just, inclusive, democratic, and sustainable economies.  

The institution of a wealth tax is a major part of the broader call for tax and fiscal justice, as well as APMDD’s campaign to “make taxes work for people and the planet.” It is only fair and practical for the burden of working households and of small-to-medium enterprises – of those who have suffered the most under the pandemic – be lifted, and that the wealthiest individuals and corporations who have profited immensely during the pandemic and even before contribute their fair share to the wellbeing of society. Now more than ever is the time to institute a wealth tax. 

Tax the rich, not the poor!