Commission Tax Action Plan: Still losing one billion a year
The European Commission represented by Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici presented the Commission's Tax Action Plan today. MEP Fabio De Masi, GUE/NGL shadow rapporteur in the European Parliament's special committee TAXE, comments on the proposals:
“The Commission's proposals are highly insufficient. Instead of taking advantage of public outrage following Luxleaks, the can is kicked further down the road. At the same time, European citizens keep losing up to one billion euros a year through tax avoidance and tax evasion.”
He continued: “The Council of Finance Ministers has not made progress on the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) since 2011 as governments politically cover corporate tax evaders. Moscovici now backtracks on consolidation with the risk that mere harmonisation will spark yet more tax competition as rates become perfectly comparable. Specific proposals are only to be made within 18 months and there is no reason to believe that reluctant member states will become more cooperative at a future point when there will be even less public attention on the issue.
The architects of renowned tax havens like Luxembourg and the Netherlands – Jean-Claude Juncker and Jeroen Dijsselbloem – are still at the helm of European institutions while the whistleblowers and journalists who uncovered Luxleaks face prosecution. Instead of protecting those who risk their careers and more in the public interest, the Commission further privileges corporates via the lamentable trade secrets directive. Likewise, in the area of transparency, the proposals offered by Moscovici today remain absolutely unsatisfactory. Even PriceWaterhouseCoopers along with many businesses see no problem in adopting public country-by-country reporting for multinationals. The Commission however drags its feet by announcing yet another public consultation, followed by an impact assessment before even considering tabling a concrete proposal.”
De Masi concludes: “What we really need is full transparency on tax payments of multinationals as well as tax rulings issued by member states – not the administrative cooperation in the dark suggested by the Commission in March. Profit shifting needs to be made impossible through consolidated taxation and there should be strong dissuasive measures against countries that act like tax havens, both inside and outside the EU. Banks that repeatedly aid tax avoidance should see their licence revoked and tax authorities need to equipped with sufficient staffing and resources to enforce rules stringently. It is ludicrous to accuse countries like Greece for not going after tax evaders if their finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, is left with 100 inspectors solely as a consequence of stupid austerity measures.”
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