Tackling tax evasion should be a top EU priority. EU countries and the European Commission should play a leading role in discussing how to fight tax fraud and aggressive tax planning in the OECD and other relevant fora, says Parliament in its resolution on tax, voted on Wednesday.
The resolution, which touches on a wide variety of tax related-issues, lays a basis for further parliamentary work on tax, inter alia fact finding by the Special Committee on Tax Rulings and the legislative work of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. It was passed by 444 votes to 110, with 41 abstentions.
In the text, MEPs welcome the “tax transparency” package tabled by the European Commission on 18 March, but call for further effective proposals to be tabled in the coming months to combat tax havens and tax avoidance.
"The fight against aggressive tax planning, tax evasion and tax avoidance is in the spotlight of public concern. This European Parliament resolution sends a strong political message, by advocating immediate action for tax transparency, taxation with social justice, and taxation policies that boost growth in a business-friendly environment", said Eva Kaili (S&D, EL), who steered the text through Parliament.
Parliament insists that tax competition should be fair and transparent. It severely criticises member states that allow their tax authorities to make tax deals with multinational companies, even when the activities taxed take place elsewhere. "Secret tax rulings go to the detriment of other countries' tax systems and distort free competition", the resolution says.
MEPs also recommend:
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution
“Tax evasion” means illegal arrangements whereby liability to tax is hidden or ignored
“Tax fraud” is a form of deliberate tax evasion which is also generally punishable under criminal law
“Tax avoidance” is the legal but improper use of the tax regime to reduce or avoid tax liabilities
“Aggressive tax planning” is taking advantage of the technicalities of a tax system, or of mismatches between two or more tax systems, to reduce tax liability