Proposals on corporate tax transparency are good but not good enough, say S&D Euro MPs
The European Commission's proposals on corporate tax transparency, unveiled today in Strasbourg, "are good but not good enough", say S&D Euro MPs.
S&D Group spokesperson for the legal affairs committee Evelyn Regner MEP said:
"The Socialists and Democrats have long campaigned to ensure that profits are taxed in the countries where they are generated. Following pressure from the S&D Group, the Commission improved its proposal last week. They now plan to ensure that big multinationals will not only have to publish taxes country by country within the EU, but also with regard to "certain listed tax jurisdictions" in order to ensure that they do not flee to tax havens outside Europe. This is a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, we are in favour of full transparency. The criteria for this blacklist of jurisdictions are set too high. It is now up to the Parliament as co-legislator to further improve the Commission's proposal and fight tax evasion.
"Tax must be paid where profits are made. And the exceptions should be very limited. Corporate tax transparency is a key part of the global solution to tax fraud and tax avoidance."
S&D Euro MP Sergio Cofferati, the European Parliament's negotiator on the Shareholder Rights Directive, added:
"Furthermore, it is unacceptable that even after the Panama Papers the Commission has decided to limit the scope of its proposal to companies with an annual turnover of €750 million. This would cover less than 2,000 companies in the EU. Such a limited scope would severely undermine the effectiveness of the measure in effectively tackling tax evasion and avoidance. A larger and more appropriate scope was proposed by the European Parliament in the Shareholder Rights Directive."
Elisa Ferreira MEP, the S&D Group's spokeswoman on economic and monetary affairs, and the European Parliament's rapporteur on the special tax committee, concluded:
"The Panama Papers have once again shown the scale of tax fraud and the complexity and imagination used to avoid tax. We call on the 28 EU governments to take up their responsibilities and to go further than what is proposed by the Commission. Increased tax transparency will not affect the competitiveness of EU companies. It will actually make our tax system in Europe fairer.
"We welcome the European Commission's proposal to set up a European blacklist of tax havens – a step the S&D Group has long been campaigning for. This list must be comprehensive and accompanied by criminal sanctions, both for those who use them and for those who advise and encourage companies to evade tax. The EU must show leadership. These inequalities in taxation between the richest citizens and companies and the rest are more and more unbearable for the average citizen. They help fuel the destructive populist movements in Europe. It is time to act."