Country-by-Country Reporting Goes Public – Cui Bono?

After the introduction of CbCR – pursuant to the BEPS Project (Action 13) in 2015 –, which was established to reduce the information asymmetry between MNEs and tax authorities of the countries they operate in, now public CbCR – as suggested by the EU Commission in 2016 – is discussed as a next step. Here, the objective is to overcome information asymmetries between MNEs and the general public of the countries they operate in. Starting from the assumption that regulators care about the legitimacy of tax laws, this article evaluates pros and cons of public CbCR. The authors find that from the perspective of information asymmetries, public CbCR increases tax transparency only marginally at best. Accordingly, it is concluded that democracies that are based on the rule of law seem to rely on pillories in terms of public CbCR to enforce fair tax payments.