As this FT article reports, perceptions of tax avoidance are a growing issue for companies. Exactly what tax avoidance is depends on your standpoint. Christian Aid thinks it means not paying enough tax in poor countries; UK Uncut thinks it means not paying enough tax in the rich UK. And there are plenty more perspectives. The only certainty for companies with an international aspect is that there is no universal or clear answer.
That doesn't mean it isn't an issue, particularly for consumer-facing companies. A company's reputation depends on what its stakeholders perceive - which is their reality. And each group of stakeholders may have different perceptions.
If a company doesn't like its stakeholders' reality, that is the company's problem. The issue needs to be fixed before it becomes toxic. The biggest mistake is to think it is a PR problem. It isn't. As a sage said many years ago, spin won't fix it. You have to fix the fundamentals.
- This blog carries a series of posts and articles, mostly written by Anthony Fitzsimmons under the aegis of Reputability LLP, a business that is no longer trading as such. Anthony is a thought leader in reputational risk and its root causes, behavioural, organisational and leadership risk. His book 'Rethinking Reputational Risk' was widely acclaimed. Led by Anthony, Reputability helped business leaders to find, understand and deal with these widespread but hidden risks that regularly cause reputational disasters. You can contact Anthony via anthony.fitzsimmons At cranfield dot ac dot uk