There is a key role for taxation in energy and public policy following the 2020 COVID-19 and resulting financial crisis. Taxation was already under the microscope at national, regional and international levels prior to 2020, and the potential for reform may slow down. Developing countries in particular are utilising their tax systems to mitigate the impacts of the 2020 crisis. This article highlights the race to the bottom in terms of taxation as governments seek foreign direct investment (FDI). It also highlights the issues in an influential sector of the economy–that of energy–and the impact on human rights as a result of tax abuse. It is advanced here that a ‘race to the bottom’ in international taxation will result in further erosion of human rights. In thinking of the future and after the 2020 crisis, developing countries need to develop sustainable and resilient economic growth, and consequently they need clear and strategic taxation policy. It can be acknowledged that there is a role for FDI in a crisis-hit economy, but for taxation policy not to have negative consequences more international action is needed in this area. Aggressive tax planning and erosion of the potential to raise tax revenue cannot inhibit the progress made over the last decade on all areas of international taxation.


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Heffron, R. & Sheehan, J. 2020, 'Rethinking international taxation and energy policy post COVID-19 and the financial crisis for developing countries', Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law, 38(4), pp. 465-473. https://doi.org/10.1080/02646811.2020.1796315

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Last updated: 22 May 2023
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