The Nordic tax transparency landscape

In the past decade, companies’ approach to tax has increasingly been recognised as matter of public interest and as an indicator of responsible business conduct. This recognition, by the wider public and companies themselves, combined with the essential role of tax revenues in funding government action, achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, and now supporting the green transition, has led to a demand and expectation of transparency by companies on their tax contributions and responsible approach to tax.

Therefore, after analysing the annual reports, sustainability reports, tax policies, and separate tax reports from 151 listed and unlisted companies across Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, we are presenting a snapshot of public tax reporting in the Nordics and how it compares to the expectations set out in GRI 207, the Global Reporting Initiative’s sustainability reporting standard for tax.

A study based on 151 companies

Together with our Nordic colleagues, we are providing you with this analysis of 151 companies in the Nordics giving great insights into the current state of tax transparency in the Nordics and for each country individually. 

In 2019, (GRI) published a new standard on tax disclosure as part of their widely recognised sustainability reporting framework. GRI 207:TAX, the first ESG reporting standard for tax, sets expectations both on qualitative and quantitative tax disclosures and became applicable for GRI users for sustainability reporting on 1 January 2021.

66 %

Of companies assessed use parts or all of GRI reporting framework

45 %

Of companies assessed have public tax policies

Download PDF

The state of tax transparency in the Nordics

A KPMG study and GRI 207 benchmark

Explore the 2023 report

Tax transparency in Denmark

For Denmark, we looked at the companies that form the OMX Copenhagen 25, the top-tier stock market index for Nasdaq Copenhagen, as well as some of the largest unlisted companies (by revenue and profit). The names of the 32 companies we assessed can be found in the appendix.

The main finding is that despite a relatively low number of companies reporting in accordance with GRI 207, compliance with the qualitative disclosure requirements was quite high. This is explained by the high number of companies with a public tax policy, and the relatively low number of companies not reporting on tax at all.

The results in Denmark show tax transparency and responsible tax remain high on the agenda. With the upcoming regulations, we witness the bar being brought higher, and more companies starting to report transparently on their tax affairs. At the same time, we see some of the leaders looking for ways to differentiate themselves, such as through the Fair Tax Mark accreditation.

Søren Dalby Madsen
CEO & Senior Partner