Protect whistleblowers and sanction tax havens and those that benefit from them, say S&D Euro MPs
A shared list of tax havens, sanctions for non-co-operative jurisdictions, protection for whistleblowers, sanctions against banks, law firms and tax advisers working for such non-co-operative jurisdictions, a binding law to prohibit the misuse of patent boxes... These are some of the new concrete proposals approved today by the European Parliament in order to fight tax avoidance by big multinationals. They are part of the recommendations of the special tax committee set up 18 months ago in the wake of the LuxLeaks scandal.
S&D Euro MP and co-author of the European Parliament's recommendations, Jeppe Kofod, said:
"Today we are sending a clear message to our citizens. The LuxLeaks and Panama Papers scandals won’t pass without a response and the tax evasion industry will not be able to continue business as usual. In fact, we are threatening to close down their business. With this new report the EU now has a clear roadmap to end harmful tax practices and deliver tax justice.
"If it wasn’t for Antoine Deltour, Raphaël Halet and Edouard Perrin, this report could not have been written. Now we are calling on the European Commission to act on legislation in order to protect whistleblowers like the 'Luxembourg Three'."
S&D Group spokesperson on the special tax evasion committee (TAXE), Peter Simon added:
"The hearings and missions, and the documents that were consulted, show that despite breaking through a long period of inactivity in the area of taxation, many steps remain to be taken on our path to tax justice.
"In order to remove the working base for the tax avoidance industry – which consists of multinational companies, willing states, tax havens, banks, tax advisers and other intermediaries – it will be necessary to push forward with transparency measures and comprehensive legislation, as well as sanctions.
"These tax avoidance practices cost the EU billions of euros each year. Whoever supports this kind of practice or infringes reporting requirements should lose their business or professional licences and be liable for the damages they cause.
"In delivering a structural change, the Panama Papers inquiry committee will allow us to continue to put pressure on those member states that until how have blocked stronger European rules against tax avoidance."
The S&D Group's main priorities to increase tax justice are:
- A shared European list of tax havens from the European Commission, with a blacklist and sanctions
- Binding legislation on patent boxes
- An EU register of beneficial ownership
- Protection for whistleblowers
- A proposal on transfer pricing from the Commission
- Automatic and substantial sanctions for banks, tax advisers and intermediaries who are engaged in unlawful activities in non-co-operative jurisdictions
- A reform of the code of conduct, as well as increased transparency and a change of governance