WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Unlike a majority of their foreign peers, most U.S. corporate CEOs do not support the idea that businesses should have to disclose tax and financial information on a country-by-country basis, said a survey released on Thursday.
Country-by-country financial reporting - as opposed to standard reporting in which multinationals lump together financial figures from different countries - is gaining support as a way to help fight corporate tax dodging.
Corporate governance activists support it and the Organization for Economic Co-operation, a Paris-based club of rich countries, is making a formal study of it.
But only a third of U.S. CEOs said their companies “should be required to publish revenues, profits and taxes paid for each territory in which they operate,” said the survey from Big Four accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) PWC.UL.
That contrasts with the results of a PwC survey last month of more than 1,000 CEOs worldwide that found 59 percent of them agreed multinationals should be required to publish financial information on a country-by-country basis.
“The question is not whether country-by-country reporting will be required, the question is, what will it look like? And who will that information be provided to?” said Heather Lowe, director of government affairs at anti-graft watchdog group Global Financial Integrity in Washington, D.C.
Lowe’s group wants country-by-country reporting to be available to the public, not just government tax authorities.
One thing that country-by-country reporting would show is whether multinationals are shifting profits out of major markets and manufacturing centers and into tax havens.
Mark Mendola, who heads PwC’s U.S. tax practice, said in a statement: “U.S. CEOs may fear that overly broad disclosure of taxpayer information would lead to misinterpretation and increase the risk of double taxation.”
The OECD has set a May 19 public meeting to hear feedback on its January draft country-by-country reporting proposal.
Reporting by Patrick Temple-West; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Bernard Orr