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CSR and tax: a study in the transition from an ‘aggregate’ to ‘real entity’ view of corporations

CSR and tax: a study in the transition from an ‘aggregate’ to ‘real entity’ view of corporations The purpose of this paper is to empirically test whether corporates, via publicly disclosed sentiment and in response to government initiatives such as domestic corporate tax reform measures that address transparency, are beginning to view tax as a fourth dimension of corporate social responsibility (CSR).Design/methodology/approachTo determine whether corporate attitudes towards tax are changing, representations about the corporate entity by a variety of stakeholders and through numerous channels were analysed using Leximancer software. These representations were in response to four distinct Australian domestic tax reform measures instituted during and subsequent to the Australian Government Senate Inquiry into corporate tax avoidance. The use of Leximancer, a data-analysis and mapping software that automates the coding of document text, delineates concepts and identifies themes, is well suited to the nature and size of the data used (Lodhia and Martin, 2011) and ensures the validity and reliability of the results (Dumay, 2014).FindingsThis paper provides evidence on the efficacy of global and domestic tax-reform measures that target tax avoidance through transparency. This is demonstrated by a progressive change in corporate attitudes towards tax and suggests a transition, albeit nascent, from the aggregate view to the real entity view of a corporation. As such, this study provides evidence of the inception of a corporate conscience when it comes to tax, whereby tax is instituted as a fourth dimension of CSR.Research limitations/implicationsUsing a theoretical framework which adopts the historically accepted views of the firm, the authors argue that a shift from the aggregate view to the real entity view of a corporation will have the following implications: an expansion of the dimensional factors of CSR (economic, social, environmental and tax); a new standard or definition of corporate responsibility which encompasses both legal and moral considerations and has transparency at its core (Narotzki, 2016); and a new outlook where consumers realise that they have the power to influence and demand action from corporates.Originality/valueThis paper uses state-of-the-art software to empirically test the efficacy of global and domestic tax reform measures that target transparency, ultimately providing evidence supporting the adoption of these measures and the recognition of a new dimension of CSR, tax. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Pacific Accounting Review Emerald Publishing

CSR and tax: a study in the transition from an ‘aggregate’ to ‘real entity’ view of corporations

Pacific Accounting Review , Volume 31 (4): 21 – Nov 4, 2019

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0114-0582
eISSN
0114-0582
DOI
10.1108/par-11-2018-0088
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to empirically test whether corporates, via publicly disclosed sentiment and in response to government initiatives such as domestic corporate tax reform measures that address transparency, are beginning to view tax as a fourth dimension of corporate social responsibility (CSR).Design/methodology/approachTo determine whether corporate attitudes towards tax are changing, representations about the corporate entity by a variety of stakeholders and through numerous channels were analysed using Leximancer software. These representations were in response to four distinct Australian domestic tax reform measures instituted during and subsequent to the Australian Government Senate Inquiry into corporate tax avoidance. The use of Leximancer, a data-analysis and mapping software that automates the coding of document text, delineates concepts and identifies themes, is well suited to the nature and size of the data used (Lodhia and Martin, 2011) and ensures the validity and reliability of the results (Dumay, 2014).FindingsThis paper provides evidence on the efficacy of global and domestic tax-reform measures that target tax avoidance through transparency. This is demonstrated by a progressive change in corporate attitudes towards tax and suggests a transition, albeit nascent, from the aggregate view to the real entity view of a corporation. As such, this study provides evidence of the inception of a corporate conscience when it comes to tax, whereby tax is instituted as a fourth dimension of CSR.Research limitations/implicationsUsing a theoretical framework which adopts the historically accepted views of the firm, the authors argue that a shift from the aggregate view to the real entity view of a corporation will have the following implications: an expansion of the dimensional factors of CSR (economic, social, environmental and tax); a new standard or definition of corporate responsibility which encompasses both legal and moral considerations and has transparency at its core (Narotzki, 2016); and a new outlook where consumers realise that they have the power to influence and demand action from corporates.Originality/valueThis paper uses state-of-the-art software to empirically test the efficacy of global and domestic tax reform measures that target transparency, ultimately providing evidence supporting the adoption of these measures and the recognition of a new dimension of CSR, tax.

Journal

Pacific Accounting ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 4, 2019

Keywords: Leximancer; Corporate social responsibility (CSR); Corporate tax; Tax transparency; Tax; Legitimacy of tax practices

References