Is there such a thing as too much corporate information?
Two new reports offer divergent conclusions about whether big companies are offering too few disclosures about their operations, or perhaps too many.
In a report released last week, Transparency International said that of 124 of the world's largest companies, 90 of them withhold key data such as the taxes they pay in foreign markets. Of that number, 54 offer no information on what they earn in other countries—with U.S. technology giants among the worst offenders.
The watchdog organization said U.K.-based companies were the most open, yet singled out American tech behemoths such as Amazon, Apple, Google and IBM as being too obscure about what they pay in taxes and what they earn abroad.
The companies did not immediately reply to a request for comment from CNBC.
The study's findings come amid a political outcry over deals that let big companies escape the long shadow of tax authorities. Earlier this year, a furor broke out over "tax inversion" deals that allow large U.S. firms to acquire overseas firms and pay less in taxes.
The implications may be far reaching for tech companies, many of which are known to guard trade information zealously, and have been known to strike deals with foreign governments to pay as little tax on earnings as possible. Last year, Apple was hammered by reports that it was sheltering more than $100 billion in offshore profits.