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Country by country reporting is essential for detection of tax avoidance, say MEPs

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Country by country reporting of profits and taxes paid is ‘essential’ for detecting corporate tax avoidance, according to MEPs who adopted by 538 votes to 73 a resolution on ‘concrete ways to combat tax fraud and tax evasion’. There were 32 abstentions.

The resolution noted that the scale of tax evasion and avoidance ‘undermines citizens’ trust and confidence in the fairness and legitimacy of tax collection’; and highlighted ‘the need to generalise automatic information exchange and to extend the scope of the Savings Taxation Directive in order to effectively end banking secrecy’.

MEPs reiterated ‘the need to keep the focus on the key role that a common consolidated corporate tax base can play against tax fraud’; and welcomed ‘proposals made by the [EC] on country-by-country reporting within the Accounting and Transparency Directives’, recalling that ‘country-by-country reporting requirements for cross-border companies are essential for detecting corporate tax avoidance’.

The resolution also recalled the Parliament’s request for ‘increased transparency and tighter control to prevent the use of tax havens’, which it defined as ‘foreign non-cooperative jurisdictions characterised in particular by no or nominal taxes, a lack of effective exchange of information with foreign tax authorities and a lack of transparency in legislative, legal or administrative provisions’.

Algirdas Šemeta, EU tax commissioner, said he would continue to push for effective means to ‘end situations of aggressive tax planning which undermine fair tax collection’.

He added: ‘I will be developing my ideas over the coming months for the initiative I am planning on tax havens and aggressive tax planning for later on this year.’