European Commission squanders opportunity to fight corporate tax dodging

The European Commission today published an action plan for a fairer corporate tax system in the European Union.

In response, Catherine Olier, Oxfam’s EU policy advisor, said:

“The European Commission has wasted a unique opportunity to revive proposals to tackle corporate tax dodging abandoned by Member States. The result is a watered down version that lacks teeth, and leaves us wondering how many more scandals are needed for Europe to finally take corporate tax dodging seriously.”

“The European Commission’s plan is so vague that it is hard to imagine how it will clampdown on corporate tax avoidance. We will be forced to rely on Member States who have proved to be only interested in maintaining the status quo, and whose track record of covering up ‘sweetheart’ deals undermines their credibility to make tax fairer.”

“A who’s who of tax havens that conveniently leaves out EU states, particularly Luxembourg, is either a mockery or shows the EU is in denial of being the nucleus of the world’s network of tax havens. It speaks volumes of the unwillingness of Member States to tighten tax rules and ensure that all companies pay their fair share.”

“The demands of European citizens for more tax transparency are being once again neglected. Building a fairer tax system will require multinationals to publicly report their profits and taxes on a country-by-country basis, in the European Union and beyond.”

Notes to editors: 

The Action Plan released today is the second instalment of a package put forward by the European Commission in the wake of the LuxLeaks revelations towards a fairer tax system in Europe. The first instalment -- Tax Transparency Package (TTP) -- was released on 18 March 2015.

Oxfam International released in March 2015 a briefing note “Pulling the Plug – How to stop corporate tax dodging in Europe and beyond” that explores some of the solutions for fighting corporate tax avoidance in the European Union and explains why it is important that the EU adopt them as soon as possible.

Luxembourg, the country at the heart of the LuxLeaks scandal, takes over the European Union Presidency in July and has promised to make tax a priority. It is currently being investigated for tax rulings made to Fiat and Amazon – along with the Netherlands (Starbucks), Ireland (Apple) and Belgium – with the European Commission also considering opening and investigation into Luxembourg’s tax dealings with McDonalds.

Contact information: 

Gaëlle Bausson on +32 (0)473 56 22 60 or gaelle.bausson@oxfaminternational.org

Twitter: @gbausson

For updates, please follow @Oxfam or @OxfamEU