Britain, France and Germany are spearheading a campaign at the G20 summit in Russia for an international clampdown on corporate tax avoidance.
A report by the OECD found that multinational companies were managing to avoid paying tax altogether by taking advantage of different countries’ rules.
The UK says despite huge changes in the global economy, global tax rules are the same as 100 years ago.
France argues that international cooperation is essential.
“The economic context is now of a globalised world where there are more investment and capital flows and where new forms of business are developing especially in the digital economy,” said the French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici.
“We must ensure that this new form of business also pays its fair share and therefore we must avoid situations in which some companies use international and domestic law to be taxed nowhere.”
The G20 nations have also declared there would be no so-called “currency war”.
Using stronger language than expected in their declaration, they included a commitment to refrain from competitive devaluations and stated monetary policy would be directed at price stability and growth.
Japan escaped criticism in a statement by G20 financial policymakers, despite concern over measures which have driven down the value of the yen against other currencies, which helps Japan’s exports.
The world’s top 20 industrialised nations also deferred plans to set new debt-cutting targets in an indication of concern about the fragile state of the world economy.