Holding U.S. Corporations Accountable: Toward a Convergence of U.S. International Tax Policy and International Human Rights

63 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2017 Last revised: 3 Oct 2018

Date Written: May 15, 2018

Abstract

International human rights litigation underscores the inverse relationship between corporate power and corporate accountability, with recent Supreme Court decisions demonstrating increased judicial protections of corporate rights and decreased corporate accountability. This article explores these recent decisions through a tax justice framework and argues that the convergence of international human rights law and U.S. international tax policy affords alternate methods to hold corporations accountable for violations of international law norms. The article specifically proposes higher scrutiny of foreign tax credits and an anti-deferral regime targeting the international activity of U.S. corporations that use subsidiaries to shelter income and decrease taxation while simultaneously shielding corporate parents from responsibility for violations of international law. Moreover, it is largely anticipated that the Trump administration, together with Republican control of both houses of Congress, will amplify the recent trend of Supreme Court jurisprudence and heighten the need for alternative methods to encourage fiscal and social responsibility by corporations. Ultimately, without organized public resistance and calls for improved corporate accountability, the political climate favoring corporations at the expense of individual human rights is likely to expand to unconscionable levels.

Suggested Citation

Lainez Flanagan, Jacqueline, Holding U.S. Corporations Accountable: Toward a Convergence of U.S. International Tax Policy and International Human Rights (May 15, 2018). Pepperdine Law Review, Vol. 45, Issue 4 (2018), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2926700 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2926700

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