The world of tax havens is a murky place. In Europe, only one sector is required to publicly report its profits and tax on a country-by-country basis – the banking sector, as a result of regulation following the financial crisis. Since 2015 all banks based in the European Union have been obliged to report on their operations in this way. This report showcases research by Oxfam that uses this new transparency data in depth for the first time to illustrate the extent to which the top 20 EU banks are using tax havens, and in which ways.
The urgent need now is to extend public country-by-country reporting to all sectors of the economy. If tax transparency is extended to all sectors, it will be easier for governments to clamp down on tax dodging and to repatriate lost tax revenues that could be used to fight inequality through investment in healthcare, education, social protection and job creation.