We know – tax is not the easiest issue for youth and student campaigners. We won’t dispute it. One reason is that, until recently, tax has mainly been sidelined in civil society campaigns, treated as overly technical and complicated. Of course, taxation and public finances can be complicated. We won’t dispute that either.
* Taxes and their effects are central to our societies: public finances lie at the centre of concepts like democracy, equality, sustainability, and social justice.
* The global impact of the current financial system dwarfs many other concerns. Estimates of annual cross-border dirty money flows top $1 trillion. A complex web of tax havens, secret bank accounts, and hidden ownership structures strips governments of revenue and enables corruption on a massive scale. Meanwhile, around half of world trade passes through tax havens—using transfer pricing, mispricing, and fake transactions, corporations evade taxes and keep value in the hands of a tiny elite.
* Indeed, despite the high-profile rhetoric about the importance of development aid, the fact is that there is a net capital flow from poor countries to rich countries—and not the other way around. While aid flows to poor countries in recent years have averaged around $100 billion annually, five times that amount flows out of developing and transitional economies every year.
That’s why we have decided to learn the language of tax. Posts on this page will cover tax terms -- see the side bar for an up-to-date alphabetical list. Take a wander through the glossary and links – then feel free to add to the collection by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org with contributions. After all, through using a language, we can mould it. And make sure the technical does not trump the just.