Sven Giegold
Mitglied der Grünen/EFA-Fraktion im Europaparlament

Sprecher Europagruppe Grüne
„Kommt, wir bauen das neue Europa!“

Fighting for tax justice in Europe: Green amendments to draft report against tax dumping

Today, the deadline for tabling amendments to the European Parliament’s special committee’s second report against tax dumping ended. For us, it is important to send a strong signal to the other European institutions and to the European citizens. Therefore, our Green amendments to the draft report are calling on the Commission and the Member States to come forward with the necessary legislative proposals to address tax dumping and corporate tax avoidance. The vote on the final report in committee is scheduled for Tuesday 21st of June and the vote in plenary will be in July.

 

If you don’t feel like reading all of our amendments (see at the bottom of the page), here is an overview of the most important things we tabled.

  1. We regret the failure of the Code of Conduct on business taxation, and more generally of the soft law approach on tax reforms. This results in a breach of sincere cooperation by Member States (article 4.3 TFEU) which erode each other’s tax base and do not notify these potentially harmful measures to other Member States (AM 94, 95 and 97)
  2. We therefore call on Member States to strengthen their national tax legislation against tax avoidance, as even the COM notices there is room to improvement. Current measures are not strong enough and proposal for reforms (Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive) is being weakened in the Council (AM 54, 55, 56 and 57)
  3. We call on EU institutions to adopt stronger reform on tax transparency. We specified what a good public country-by-country reporting proposal would look like: information available for companies in ALL countries and more companies covered by the scope of this directive. This is needed especially as more Member States are supporting public CBCR (UK, FR, IT, NL, ES) (AM 59)
  4. Building on transparency, we want public registries of beneficial owners of companies, trusts and other legal entities. We praise some good examples (e.g. France establishing a public register for trusts) and call on other Member States to follow the same trend. (AM 62, 104)
  5. We call on the EU to adopt a European FATCA legislation, to ensure that in case countries or financial institutions do not provide adequate tax information to EU tax authorities, Member States will apply a 30% withholding tax on all transactions from EU citizens’ accounts leaving the EU (assuming then that such transactions are not taxed in the country where they go). (AM72)
  6. We want the end of patent boxes. There is no good argument to justify patent boxes and tax exemptions on intellectual property, as even the COM founds patent boxes are not a good way to promote research & development. We call for patent boxes phase out (for the existing ones) by 2021 and no new patent boxes to be created (AM 76)
  7. We need binding legislation to separate accounting activities from providing tax/financial services (leading to tax avoidance). Usually, many accounting firms are helping companies to “plan” their tax strategies (aka avoid taxes) and then audit the same companies afterwards. This is subject to huge conflict of interest. (AM 82)
  8. We need stronger rules to find shell companies. Therefore, we are asking for common minimum rules in the EU for setting up companies and for the Commission to withdraw its proposal to create single unit companies (which could be prone to facilitate tax avoidance). (AM109)
  9. We call on the European Investment Bank to adopt stronger tax policies, in order to fight tax havens. For example, it should call for companies to publicly disclose their tax information, country by country, before granting them loans. Or avoid lending money to companies operating in tax havens. (MANUAL AMENDMENT 3)
  10. We call for greater tax harmonisation in Europe, as a means to truly fight tax evasion and avoidance. This means adopting a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base but also looking at harmonising tax rates in the EU. It also goes with a series of needed legislative proposals (on permanent establishment, on economic substance, on specific sectors more prone to tax avoidance) (AMs 79, 68 and 69)

 

The draft report as circulated by the co-rapporteurs:

TAX2 Draft Report EN

 

Our Green amendments:

Green Amendments TAX2 report

Additional Green Amendment 1

Additional Green Amendment 2

Additional Green Amendment 3

 

Jointly with Fabio De Masi from GUE/NGL, I tabled additional amendments on the political responsibility for tax dumping which we were able to conclude from the documents of the Code of Conduct Group on Business Taxation and from other Council groups dealing with tax matters:

Joint amendments by Fabio De Masi and Sven Giegold