Public tax debate in Europe: a European news media perspective

/Public tax debate in Europe: a European news media perspective

The public tax debate within Europe has been continuously evolving. The tax contribution and tax practices of large multinational corporations (MNCs) have been elevated to a key subject of interest for a plethora of stakeholders, including the society at large. The EBTF believes in a meaningful and effective engagement of large business in this debate.

For this, the EBTF commissioned the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR, University of Amsterdam), Europe’s largest research institute studying the communication and media landscape, to conduct an independent study that showcases a comprehensive and structured analysis of the evolution of the public tax debate in European news media over twenty years i.e. the period 2000-2020.

The study is divided into two sections.

  • The first section shows that corporate actors are found to be less visible in the public tax debate as compared to political and governmental actors, and that valence of tax news addressing corporate actors is skewed towards the negative.
  • The second section includes anonymous insights from tax and communication experts working at MNCs to provide context to the findings of the media analysis. Accordingly experts indicate that transparency is becoming a priority, and it emerges from the interviews that tax reporting on a country-by-country level is seen as a valuable resource for developing a strategic tax narrative, which facilitates and enhances communication to and with key stakeholders and also allows MNCs to assert more control over how, where, and what sort of information is communicated to and with stakeholders.

The study concludes with interesting takeaways, such as the need to consider more active and interpretative types of transparency.

We invite you to read this very interesting study and share your thoughts with us at!