“After the Panama leaks the Commission must deliver in its fight against tax havens ”, say S&D Euro MPs

S&Ds back clear priorities for a strong report on tax evasion

Following new revelations of the “Panama papers” which have exposed, on a huge scale, money laundering, tax dodging, off-shore companies and tax havens, S&D Euro MPs today urged the European Commission and the EU to adopt ambitious rules to improve corporate transparency and the fight against tax avoidance by multinationals.

S&D Group leader Gianni Pittella said:

"This new tax scandal shows that we need to act more efficiently against fraudsters and against those who facilitate them in hiding their money in tax havens. The fact that this is being used, not only by the criminal underworld, but by some political leaders confirms how widespread these immoral tax practices can go. It discredits the political system in the eyes of the citizens.

"We need to be more aggressive in the fight against tax fraud. Today, I wrote to President Juncker and asked him on behalf of the S&D Group to ensure that a large number of companies will be obliged to report publicly about their activities in every country in which they operate, be it inside or outside the EU, in order to strengthen the fight against aggressive tax planning by multinationals.

"The draft proposal currently under discussion on country-by-country reporting would fall short of the expectations and demands of Parliament and the citizens.

"Our political family considers it of utmost importance to come up with an ambitious proposal that effectively takes into account the concerns and expectations expressed by citizens and the civil society for over a year following the case of Luxleaks, which has shed light on the aggressive tax strategies put forward by big multinationals.

"We are concerned about the fact that multinationals would only have to disclose relevant information country-by-country just within Europe. As for their activities outside the EU, they would be obliged to provide only aggregated data.

"This solution would even favour profit shifting practices towards tax jurisdictions and tax heavens outside the European Union (in order to avoid the obligation to publicly report on tax payments), therefore decreasing European tax revenues.

"In order to effectively tackle tax avoidance and not to create discrepancies, we need public CBCR for all tax jurisdictions, within and outside the European Union.

"The fact that scope of the future legislation, which will focus on companies with an annual turnover over €750 million, is also a problem. Such a restricted scope would heavily undermine the effectiveness of the measure. The European Parliament has repeatedly asked instead for public CBCR to cover all large companies as defined in the Accounting Directive, which would account to around 20,000 large undertakings.

"I am afraid that if the European Commission were to propose public country-by-country reporting with these two elements, it would not at all be sufficient, and it would not be acceptable for the S&D Group."

The full letter is available here.

A free broadcast video package which contains interviews with S&D President Gianni Pittella and co-rapporteur of the special tax committee Jeppe Kofod is available here.