German, Italian, Dutch and Irish finance ministers appeared before Parliament's Panama papers investigative committee on 11 July. Check out our video.
It's vital Europe takes up the leadership in the fight against tax evasion, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz told Parliament's inquiry committee investigating the Panama papers on 16 November. Stiglitz, who served as an advisor to the Panama government following the revelations, said the US was unlikely to be effective in tackling the issue: "When your [future] president is evader-in-chief, it’s hard to have confidence in where we are going to go."
Fraud involving VAT on goods exported to other member states costs EU tax payers an estimated €50 billion a year. The European Commission has come up with an action plan to clamp down on VAT fraud and update current VAT rules that have been left unchanged since 1993. MEPs debate the action plan on Wednesday 23 November and vote on it the following day. Read on to find out more about Parliament's position and watch our video for an explanation of how VAT fraud works.
The European Commission's ruling that Apple should pay Ireland €13 billion in taxes has reignited the discussion of how much tax large companies should pay. Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager won wide support from MEPs when explaining the Commission’s approach in a plenary debate on 14 September. A week earlier we talked to German EPP member Markus Ferber, one of the Parliament's leading members on tax issues. Read on to find out what he had to say about the Apple ruling and tax deals.
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. Read on to find what the Parliament is currently working on to address the issue.
Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager won wide support from MEPs, in a Wednesday afternoon debate, for the Commission’s state aid verdict that the tax benefits that Ireland granted to Apple Inc., enabling it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years, were illegal.
The code of conduct for European Commissioners needs to be thoroughly tightened up, in order to prevent conflicts of interest for Commission members, and to help restore the faith of European citizens in today’s political institutions. This was the key message agreed by most MEPs during Tuesday evening’s debate with EU economic affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, on the business ties of past and present Commissioners and the recent “Bahamas” leaks.
The European Parliament agreed to set up an inquiry committee into the “Panama Papers” revelations, of detailed information on offshore companies and their ultimate beneficiaries, in a vote on Wednesday. The committee is to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application by the EU Commission or member states of EU laws on money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion. It will have 65 members and twelve months to present its report.
Jean-Claude Juncker was questioned about the fight against tax evasion by inquiry committee during a hearing at the Parliament on 30 May
Panama papers inquiry committee
Tax avoidance by companies cost EU countries €160-190 billion in lost revenue a year. MEPs discussed new measures to fight the most common practices on Tuesday 7 June and vote in favour of them the following day. Read more about the legislation and check our infographic that shows corporate tax rates and respective tax income by member state.
The EU Commission proposal for an EU anti-tax avoidance directive was welcomed by Parliament in a resolution voted on Wednesday. MEPs nonetheless advocated stricter limits on deductions for interest payments and tougher rules on foreign income. They also called for more transparency for trust funds and foundations, common rules for “patent box” tax reductions on intellectual property earnings, and an EU blacklist of tax havens and sanctions against uncooperative jurisdictions.
The EU member states’ deal on plans for them to exchange details of their tax rulings for multinationals automatically was a “missed opportunity” to take a big step forward in fighting aggressive tax planning and unfair tax competition, says Parliament in an opinion voted on Tuesday. MEPs are unhappy that the 6 October deal unduly restricts both the scope of the draft “automatic exchange” directive and the European Commission’s access to this information.
Ending bank secrecy
Multinationals should pay their taxes where they make their profits, according to one of the recommendations by the tax rulings committee, which were adopted by MEPs on 25 November. Report authors Elisa Ferreira (S&D, Portugal) and Michael Theurer (ALDE, Germany) told us it had been difficult for the committee to get answers from multinationals and member states during its nine-month investigation, but that its recommendations could lead to fairer tax competition.
Parliament sets out its ideas on how to make corporate taxes fairer across Europe in a resolution voted on Wednesday.
Are multinational companies paying their fair share of taxes? While the European Commission launched a series of inquiries in all EU member states, the Parliament has set up its own special committee to investigate into tax rulings involving large international companies. We talked to committee chair Alain Lamassoure, a French member of the EPP group, to find out his views and expectations.
Paying taxes can be complicated, but so can the vocabulary that goes with it. Tax avoidance is legal, but tax evasion isn't and just what exactly is base erosion? As MEPs have adopted the recommendations from the Parliament's second special committee on tax rulings during the July plenary , we take a closer look at the jargon.
Second tax rulings committee
First tax rulings committee
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker appeared in person for Parliament’s extraordinary debate on the fight against tax avoidance, prompted by the recent revelation of secret deals granting preferential tax treatments to multinational companies in Luxembourg.
The European Parliament rejected a motion of censure against Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s team on Thursday, with 461 votes against, 101 in favour and 88 abstentions. The motion was tabled by 76 EFDD and non-attached MEPs further to the "Lux leaks" plenary session debate with Mr Juncker on 12 November. A debate on the motion was held on Monday.