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Positive vote as fight for tax justice heads to plenary

Progressive alliance ensures positive TAX3 report heads to plenary next month

The final vote in the TAX3 committee on tax avoidance has been overwhelmingly endorsed by MEPs today with, for the first time, the role of the auditing sectors and the impact of money laundering on women’s rights included in the final report.

In addition, recommendations for the protection of whistleblowers and journalists have also been incorporated. Whilst the structural problems of the EU that help to facilitate tax evasion have been overlooked, the report does tackle the controversy over multinationals moving their headquarters to tax havens – the so-called, cross-border conversion.

In all, 114 of the 168 amendments submitted by GUE/NGL made it into the final committee report – with the help of progressive members across a range of political groups.

For example, there was broad support for the request to analyse the impact of international double taxation treaties on developing countries, which was detailed in a recent GUE/NGL study as being biased in favour of capital-exporting countries.

Likewise, there was support for the negative impact of tax amnesties and the criticism of the revolving door culture between auditors and the public sector and their potential conflicts of interest.

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

“We are happy with all the GUE/NGL amendments that have been included. Although the wider structural problems and loopholes across the EU which gave rise to tax evasion and tax avoidance are not addressed, this report is going in the right direction.”

“Certain EU member states have also been singled out as being promoters of tax avoidance. Meanwhile, Switzerland is rightly condemned as being the worst offender as a facilitator. Its role in persecuting whistleblowers and journalists just for doing their job has also been criticised.”

Concerns remain, however, for Urbán over what has been ignored in the committee report:

“There’s no mention of the EU’s own structural failures that allow tax evasion and avoidance to happen in the recommendations. The EU has so many loopholes and they must be dealt with decisively,” he argued.

Photo courtesy of Marco Verch on Flickr

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