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We need to ensure paradise becomes hell for tax fraudsters


06 Nov 2017


Euro & Finance
Brussels, 6 November 2017
Following new leaks on massive tax-evasion schemes on a global scale – the so-called Paradise Papers – the S&D Group is calling on EU governments to unblock major EU decisions on VAT reforms, corporate tax transparency and on a common consolidated tax basis for multinationals.
S&D Group spokesperson on the Panama Papers committee Peter Simon MEP stated:
"After the LuxLeaks and Panama Papers revelations we get yet another profound insight into the parallel cosmos of tax avoidance, with its own laws for the benefit of a few and to the detriment of many. Illegitimate tax avoidance is no minor misdemeanour and has to become illegal! The business model of 'tax havens' has to be ended! The EU member states need to act now: countries with a tax rate of 0% are tax havens. This may seem obvious, but today´s reality is very different. So far, member states' governments have not been able to agree on measures so that these countries would automatically be placed on a blacklist for tax havens. This has to change right away.
“Legislative proposals in the fight against tax avoidance, for more transparency and for closing tax loopholes have been tabled for quite some time now and are supported by the Socialists & Democrats. But member states are employing their usual delaying tactics on the introduction of a common consolidated corporate tax basis (CCCTB) – which would make sure that profits are taxed in the country in which they were generated – as well as on the introduction of public country-specific reporting for multinational corporations, so that corporations would have to disclose where they are making their profits and which taxes they are paying on these profits.
“The most recent leaks are most likely only the tip of another vast iceberg. The European Parliament has proven with its special committees TAXE 1 and 2 (investigating the LuxLeaks scandal) and its inquiry committee into the Panama Papers that is willing to pressure the member states and ready to fight together at the forefront against tax avoidance and money laundering, within and outside of the EU. LuxLeaks, the Panama and Paradise Papers prove to us that the European Parliament needs established and permanent structures for serious investigations, because the fight against these grievances will be long.”
Panama Papers committee co-rapporteur and S&D vice-president Jeppe Kofod MEP said:
"It's clear that we need a new structure in the European Parliament to get to the bottom of these deeply worrying revelations. We have done a tremendous amount of work in the Panama Papers committee, but it is obvious that our work is far from done.
"The most horrific revelation is, that most – if not all – of these structures are technically legal. This shows the urgent need for international tax reform, starting with harsh sanctions for those who use, design or profit from aggressive tax planning and tax-evasion schemes.
"Apart from international tax reforms, we want to follow this up by calling for an EU tax policy coherence centre (TPCCC) under the Commission, to co-ordinate and strengthen the collaboration between national tax authorities.
"We are calling on the Council and the Commission to initiate a global summit on tax fraud and tax avoidance, to be held in Europe as soon as possible."
S&D Group spokesperson on the economic and monetary affairs committee Pervenche Berès MEP added:
"Since LuxLeaks three years ago, we have repeatedly called for tax havens to be closed down and the international tax system to be fixed. Under pressure from the European Parliament, the European Commission has put forward many proposals and a few decisions were made. Some will take effect in 2018 or 2019. It will be our task to check that they are properly implemented.
"But a lot remains to be done.  Our efforts are undermined by the fact that any tax decision requires the unanimity of the member states. There is still strong resistance from some EU capitals to moving forward on tax policy. If we want progress on increasing corporate tax transparency, on a common European corporate tax system or on a common European list of tax havens, member states need to abandon the unanimity rule on tax policy. Otherwise we will keep seeing new seasons of the Paradise Papers soap opera."



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