EU: the fight for fair taxation

Only death and taxes are certain in life – as the cliché goes – but that doesn’t mean you have to like either. In the case of taxes, it’s made worse by not everyone paying their fair share. According to the latest Eurobarometer survey commissioned by the European Parliament, 75% of all Europeans believe the EU should do more to fight tax fraud.

The fight for fair taxation in the EU became a priority for the Parliament long before the revelations of LuxLeaks and the Panama papers. Since the start of the economic and financial crisis, MEPs have been pushing for greater transparency and an end to unfair tax practices.

Italian S&D member Roberto Gualtieri, the chair of Parliament’s economic committee, said: “75% of the EU population expects more EU action on the fight against tax fraud: it is necessary to respond effectively to this concern. The European Parliament is leading this fight, by adopting ambitious and concrete proposals to increase tax transparency and combat tax avoidance, calling for the automatic exchange of tax rulings between member states and public country-by-country reporting for multinationals, together with a common definition of tax havens and strong and concrete sanctions.

“We will continue to push member states to strengthen their tax policies, to close loopholes and to improve coordination at the EU and international level. It is only a matter of fairness towards EU citizens.”

In the wake of the LuxLeaks scandal MEPs set up two special committees on tax rulings. In its final report, which MEPs adopted in July 2016, the second special committee called for an EU register of beneficial owners of companies, a tax heavens blacklist and action against the misuse of patent box regimes.

The Panama papers inquiry committee will start its work this autumn to assess how the European Commission and member states are fighting money laundering and tax evasion. This autumn MEPs will also start working on the public transparency rules for multinationals.