The European Commission yesterday reiterated its strong commitment to fight against tax evasion, following the Paradise Papers leak.
In prepared remarks at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) press conference, European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis stressed that the Commission has tabled many proposals—several of which have already been agreed—in the name of fighting tax evasion, “but some are still outstanding, pending agreement from member states,” he said. “We hope that the Paradise leaks will help to create a new political momentum to reach the unanimity required for an agreement.”
For example, the European Commission is calling on member states to take forward its June proposal for transparency measures for so-called tax “intermediaries,” Dombrovskis said. “Recent revelations confirm the powerful role that tax planners and tax advisers—or intermediaries—play in tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning strategies worldwide.”
Recent reports show how EU legislation can be circumvented by clever schemes and structures put in place by advisers to avoid paying, for example, VAT. “This is why we insist that national authorities need to receive information on potentially aggressive tax planning schemes before they have been implemented,” Dombrovskis said.
“Our view is that an agreement on our proposal for public country-by-country reporting should significantly increase tax transparency and shine a spotlight on big corporations that embrace aggressive tax planning,” Dombrovskis added.
“We regret that Ministers could not reach a political agreement on the VAT e-commerce package,” Dombrovskis added, “but good progress was made and hopefully the deal can be sealed at the December ECOFIN.”