European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici, called for an acceleration of European work to adopt transparent measures on corporate taxation as soon as possible on Tuesday from Strasbourg.
Reacting to the “Paradise Papers”, Moscovici addressed the MEPs during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, appearing not surprised by these revelations. “We’ve known for a long time that multinationals, wealthy taxpayers, consulting firms and banks work hand-in-hand to take huge amounts of income away from taxes, and we are not dealing with isolated incidents, but with systematic, global and organized “, underlines Moscovici.
The Commissioner suggested that the EU executive is stepping up its efforts on tax reform as there are only “three major measures to be finalized to ensure greater transparency” in the EU member states’ tax systems. “First of all, new transparency rules for tax intermediaries, lawyers, bankers and consultants who sell these tax optimization schemes were tabled in June 2017, while together with the European Commissioner for Justice Vĕra Jourová, tabled the directive against money laundering. Moscovici wishes for the texts to be adopted within the next semester and provide each EU citizen with greater powers of control and pressure by making available to all accounting and tax data today only in the hands of tax administrations.
Moscovici did not stop there, speaking about the list of European tax heavens. “I am committed to bringing this list to fruition after the Panama Papers scandal, and the Commission has made its proposal very quickly, and I urge the member states to adopt it as soon as the next European Council of Finance Ministers on December 5. On December 5 we must have a blacklist of tax havens,” added the Commissioner as the work that the Berlaymont did so far “has already led to some interesting developments. The vast majority of the 92 third countries we examined cooperated with EU experts. Several of them have already committed to reforming their tax legislation to comply with European standards.”
According to the EU Commissioner, other “problematic” non-EU member states will be given the opportunity to make commitments “at the highest political level” by the end of this week, in writing. “Member States have indicated that these commitments will be taken into account when adopting the blacklist at the beginning of December, but I invite the EU member states, the Code of Conduct group, to remain firm and united on EU requests. and to accept only very concrete commitments,” he said.
Askin the member states to improve their national legislation, Moscovici suggests that convergence of tax rules is the only way of avoiding an “aggressive tax optimization.” According to the Commissioner, “this system thrives and persists thanks to flaws in current national legislation and differences between them,” concluding that the EU should adopt as soon as possible “a European tax base for corporate tax”.