Most of BASF tax practices are actually legal – this is the true scandal

Reacting to the Greens/EFA group report on the aggressive tax planning practices of German chemical giant BASF, Oxfam’s EU tax policy advisor Aurore Chardonnet said:

“The true scandal is that most of the schemes used by BASF are legal, and a consequence of fierce tax competition between EU member states. Citizens and other businesses in the EU and in developing countries are losing out due to this.

“The BASF case just adds to the evidence that we need more tax harmonization and coordination in the EU and globally. This is the only way to ensure that multinational companies pay their fair share of tax, and that governments are in a position to fund essential services such as education and health.”

Notes to editors: 
  • The report “Toxic tax deals” was published today by the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament.
  • It exposes the aggressive tax planning strategies of BASF, exploiting mismatches in national tax systems and taking advantage of loopholes and incentives available in certain European states, including Belgium, Malta, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The report estimates that BASF used these tax planning strategies to avoid €923 million in tax in 5 years.
  • EU finance ministers will meet in Brussels tomorrow to discuss, and potentially adopt, criteria for producing a European blacklist of tax havens along with a shortlist of countries to be assessed against these criteria. Read our position.
  • The “World Investment Report” of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates that developing countries lose at least US$100 billion per year in corporate tax revenue due to tax dodging by large companies. This money could ensure that every one of the 121 million children globally who are currently out of school get an education and provide healthcare services across Africa that could save the lives of 4 million children.
Contact information: 

Florian Oel | Brussels | florian.oel@oxfaminternational.org | office +32 2 234 11 15 | mobile +32 473 56 22 60

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