Wednesday, 18 March 2015 – Today, the European Commission published its new “Tax transparency package” in response to the Luxleaks scandal. If the proposed measures are in line with strengthening the fight against European tax evasion, the tax and judicial havens platform organizations report that confidentiality remains in place, which doesn’t meet the expectations of European citizens or the interest of developing countries.
The new measure of this “Tax transparency package” is the proposal to set up an automatic exchange of information on rulings, these tax agreements, made public by Luxleaks, that are passed between multinational companies and tax authorities and are too often misused to reduce their tax base in other countries where they operate. Unfortunately, the European Commission has no plans to make such agreements public.
“The automatic exchange of these tax agreements between Member States is a first step to not overlook because it will allow tax authorities to better understand and therefore fight the aggressive tax planning practices of multinational companies. But it is an exaggeration to talk about tax transparency when we know that none of this information will be made available to the public, but waiting for more transparency,” says Jacques Fabre, Director of Transparency International France.
“If this information about the rulings was made public, it would deter many companies from using them to implement aggressive tax optimization plans. True transparency is one of the keys that must not be ignored in the fight against tax evasion. By not including a proposal to make public the information about the activities that companies are doing, the people they employ and the taxes they pay in each country where they operate, the Commission is blindfolding the citizens while the companies are playing with the money necessary for funding our public services,” says Manon Aubry, Advocacy Head at Oxfam France. “Ultimately, these proposed measures are a waste of time and are not sufficient enough to stop tax evasion.”
In addition, “the measures proposed in this new “package” do not benefit developing countries, which are even more severely affected by tax evasion. Again, making public the information about the rulings or activities and taxes paid by EU companies would have allowed other non-European countries to have access to these invaluable data to identify the often complex tax plans,” laments Lucie Watrinet, Advocacy Officer at CCFD-Terre Solidaire and the tax and judicial havens platform coordinator.
“There would be no “Luxleaks” without, firstly, PriceWaterhouse Coopers and the other driving forces of aggressive tax planning that are the “Big Four” and, secondly, the whistleblower, Antoine Deltour. But the latter is now being pursued by the Luxembourg courts, while the “transparency package” does nothing to fight against gravediggers of established solidarity,” recalls Jean Merckaert of Sherpa.
The tax and judicial havens platform expects far more ambitious steps from the European Commission in the June publication of new measures on the taxation of businesses.
Sherpa: Jean Merckaert, 06 81 84 30 64
Tags: transparency tax Last modified: 17 December 2019