Frequently asked questions - GRI 207: Tax 2019

Why has GRI developed GRI 207: Tax 2019?

Taxes are acknowledged by the UN to play a vital role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. They are also a key mechanism by which organizations contribute to the economies of the countries in which they operate. Recent revelations have put the spotlight on the tax practices of organizations operating in an increasingly complex and globalized tax landscape. This has resulted in calls from many stakeholders – governments, investors, civil society, media and the public – for more tax transparency.

GRI 207: Tax 2019 is a response to these calls. It is the first global reporting standard to combine management approach disclosures on tax strategy, with public country-by-country reporting of business activities, revenues, profit and tax. GRI 207 helps organizations be more transparent by using a framework for reporting that is developed in the public interest and follows international best practice. With this Standard, GRI aims to pave the way for more informed public debate on tax and its contribution to sustainability, and to enable better policy and investment decisions.

What was the process for the development of GRI 207: Tax 2019?

The development process of GRI 207: Tax 2019 was overseen by the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB). GRI’s independent standard setting body, following the Due Process Protocol.

The Standard was developed in the public interest through a transparent and inclusive process. The content was developed by a multi-stakeholder technical committee with leading tax experts and practitioners from around the world, from diverse constituencies, including business, civil society, investors, labor and mediating institutions.

Between December 2018 and March 2019, an exposure draft of the Standard was made available for public comment. Over 80 submissions were received from approximately 110 organizations across business, investment institutions, civil society, labor and mediating institutions.  For more information about the development process of GRI 207 please visit the project page.

How was feedback on the exposure draft of GRI 207: Tax 2019 addressed?

In line with the Due Process Protocol, an exposure draft of GRI Standard: Tax and Payments to Governments was released for public comment between December 2018 and March 2019. All comments received during the public comment period were considered by the technical committee. An analysis of these comments was presented to the GSSB and summarized in the GSSB Basis for Conclusions. The basis for conclusions outlines the main themes identified from public comments and how the GSSB responded to these comments. It can be found on the project page for GRI 207: Tax 2019.

When will GRI 207: Tax 2019 come into effect? Can reporting organizations start using it now?

GRI 207: Tax 2019 will be effective for reports or other materials published on or after 1 January 2021. This means that if the reporting organization has identified tax as a material topic, it will be required to report on GRI 207 from 1 January 2021 onwards.

Earlier adoption of GRI 207 is encouraged, even if a reporting organization cannot as yet meet all the requirements. If the organization is currently unable to report the required information for a disclosure, or for all tax jurisdictions, it may use reasons for omission in the meantime.

Please consult the GRI Standards FAQ page for more information on reasons for omission.

The Guidance for Disclosure 207-4-b in GRI 207 also includes information on using reasons for omission where the organization cannot report the required information for all its tax jurisdictions or where reporting for a tax jurisdiction is not possible because the organization holds a minority shareholding or is the non-operating joint venture partner in an entity.

Is GRI 207: Tax 2019 available in other languages?

The authoritative text of the GRI Standards is English but authorized translations of GRI 207: Tax 2019 will become available in key languages from April 2020. Please consult the GRI Translations page or contact translations@globalreporting.org for more information on the upcoming translation schedule.

How to use the GRI 207: Tax 2019?

If an organization has identified tax as a material topic, it is required to report on the topic using GRI 103: Management Approach 2016 and GRI 207: Tax 2019. The required disclosures are outlined below.

GRI 207 includes only one topic-specific disclosure. This means that the information required is the same for both Core and Comprehensive reports. Please consult Table 1 in GRI 101: Foundation 2016 for the complete set of criteria for reporting in accordance with the GRI Standards.

Required management approach disclosures:

  • The three management approach disclosures in GRI 103: Management Approach 2016 (Disclosures 103-1, 103-2, and 103-3)
  • Disclosure 207-1 Approach to tax 
  • Disclosure 207-2 Tax governance, control, and risk management​
  • Disclosure 207-3 Stakeholder engagement and management of concerns related to tax ​

If, in exceptional cases, an organization cannot report on some of the management approach disclosures, it may use reasons for omission. This does not apply to Disclosure 103-1, which is mandatory.

Required topic-specific disclosures:

  • Disclosure 207-4 Country-by-country reporting

It is acknowledged that reporting organizations might need to build up their reporting for Disclosure 207-4 over time. If the organization is currently unable to report the required information for a disclosure, or for all tax jurisdictions, it may use reasons for omission in the meantime. Reasons for omission are permitted for all topic-specific disclosures if, in exceptional cases, the organization cannot report on these.

Is the Standard only relevant to MNEs and large organizations?

Country-by-country reporting can be undertaken by any organization regardless of its size or the number of jurisdictions in which it operates. If an organization does business in a jurisdiction, it can be reasonably expected to offer information on the scale of its activities and taxes paid in that jurisdiction, even if it operates in only one jurisdiction.

Organizations that operate in only one tax jurisdiction might already report some of the information required by Disclosure 207-4 in their audited consolidated financial statements or financial information filed on public record. In this case, the organization can choose to give a reference to where the information can be found instead of repeating these disclosures. For more information on how to present information, see GRI 101: Foundation 2016.