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Parliament vote marks important first step for tax justice in Europe

Final TAX3 report an improvement on TAX1, TAX2 and ‘Panama Papers’ committees proposals

Having been engulfed by numerous tax evasion scandals over the past decade, a vote today in the European Parliament has finally laid out a roadmap that may begin to bring about tax justice for millions of EU citizens.

The Lux Leaks, Panama Papers and Paradise Papers revelations shamed EU leaders and several governments in recent years, showing how corporations and individuals have resorted to dirty tricks and legal loopholes to dodge billions upon billions in taxes.

As a result, the Parliament set up a special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance with the aim of tackling money laundering and corporate tax crimes.

Although the structural problems that currently exist in the EU which facilitate tax evasion and money-laundering are not fully addressed in the final proposals, critical references on the protection of whistleblowers and journalists – so crucial to our understanding of the issues at heart – have been included.

Furthermore, the report contains references to the damage caused by regressive taxes over the past 20 years and its gender impact, especially on women.

Commenting after the vote, Miguel Urbán (Podemos, Spain) said:

“The TAX3 committee has produced the most powerful text on tax evasion and tax fraud to date.”

“However, the right-wing EPP group is once again trying to water down the text by separating some of its most important paragraphs – even though they have had a Rapporteur responsible for drafting the text.”

“In our view, it’s essential and pleasing that the text kept its call for severe sanctions on enablers such as banks and tax advice offices, and that it highlights that tax havens exist inside the EU.”

For Martin Schirdewan (DIE LINKE., Germany), such a report is long overdue:

“Citizens have long demanded tax justice – and rightly so.”

“Four years on from the scandalous leaks that laid bare the tax tricks of multinationals, member states continue to lose hundreds of billions of euros every year due to the tax dumping strategies by big corporations.”

“This ongoing unscrupulousness goes to show that we have to continue our investigative work in the next legislative term. The report supports the call for a permanent sub-committee dealing with tax flight and financial crime. The new Parliament must support this demand,” he added.

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