European Commission deceiving citizens with vague tax transparency proposal

The European Commission today published a proposal setting out plans to increase transparency on tax issues within the European Union.

In reaction to the publication, Catherine Olier, Oxfam’s EU policy advisor, said:

“While the European Commission is at last aware of the need for corporate tax transparency, it is still not addressing the issue head on. This feeble proposal fails to confront tax dodging by big business, and does nothing to stop sweetheart tax deals, such as those exposed by the recent LuxLeaks scandal.”

“By not including country by country reporting – information on where companies really employ people, hold assets and pay taxes – in the transparency proposal today, the European Commission is deceiving citizens while big business runs amok with cash needed to finance essential services. This level of transparency is desperately needed to spot multinationals deliberately shifting profits to dodge tax.”

“It is vital for the European Commission to now draw up a meaningful action plan on corporate taxation in June – one that brings to task corporate tax dodgers as they are unethically cheating poor countries out of at least $100 billion a year.”

Notes to editors: 
  • The European Commission has launched four investigations against Luxembourg (Fiat and Amazon), the Netherlands (Starbucks) and Ireland (Apple) for alleged breach of European state aid rules. Tax rulings granted by the tax administrations in these three countries to these companies could be seen as preferential tax treatment, violating European competition rules.
  • Oxfam is calling for a World Tax Summit to be held at the UN Financing for Development conference held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in July, to give developing countries an equal say in global tax matters and to ensure government leaders acknowledge the severe problems with the current tax system. More information on how corporate tax dodging effects developing countries can be found here.
Contact information: 

Angela Corbalan on + 32 (0) 473 56 22 60 or angela.corbalan@oxfaminternational.org, @AngelaCorbalan

For updates, please follow @Oxfam or @OxfamEU.