"Countries show mostly no sense of wrongdoing - we need a change of corporate taxation system" say S&D Euro MPs
In today's meeting, the TAXE special committee of the European Parliament discussed, among other things, the results of its on-site delegation visits to Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
S&D Group spokesperson on the tax special committee (TAXE), Peter Simon stated:
"Even though many demonstrated openness to changing company taxation rules together, it is shocking that most of those who are in charge in the examined countries have hardly any sense of wrongdoing. Their argument is that the tailored tax avoidance models for companies are 'not illegal'. However, this doesn't change the fact that, through these models, loopholes have been created on purpose, actively damaging other member states.
"Also the repeatedly presented argument that small countries with few natural resources are only able to generate revenue by creating tax laws that are attractive for companies, is not convincing. In the Single Market there has to be fair competition between member states at all times and member states shall refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the Union's objectives. In this case this means: no illegitimate tax dumping.
"A common tax base is indispensable for closing the loopholes in national tax systems, which were partly deliberately created. Only this can ensure that companies cannot deduct all kinds of things from their taxable income. Adequate minimum tax rates have to follow as a second step. Our ultimate ambition remains that tax dumping organised by the state won't simply remain illegitimate, but will become illegal."
S&D Group spokesperson on economic and monetary affairs and European Parliament’s co-negotiator on the TAXE report, Elisa Ferreira added:
"Even if we have not visited all EU member states, only the 6 most symbolic ones, the missions were very useful to help us understand that, up to now, the rule on tax matters has been an open battle with all possible means to catch investment and revenues from other countries.
"This free rider practice has evolved to the detriment of the tax revenues of developing countries and of many countries of the EU. Changing this system depends mainly on the support of a new agenda and culture of tax justice and fairness from citizens and taxpayers who are presently, in many countries, submerged under very heavy tax pressure.
"As we have seen in the countries visited, it is mainly the left and the NGO who are seriously engaged in this fight against tax dodging. LuxLeaks gave a new visibility to this problem, in a way that everybody can now see that the emperor has no clothes.
"If we don't seize the momentum created by LuxLeaks to introduce a new culture once and for all, we will end up with mere superficial and cosmetic changes in behaviour instead of the structural changes that we need."