S&D Euro MPs shocked at not guilty tax plea from Apple, Google, IKEA and McDonald's
Yesterday’s hearing between four big multinationals – Apple, Google, IKEA and McDonald's – and members of the European Parliament’s special tax committee (TAXE) on their tax practices in Europe turned out to be worthless according to S&D Euro MPs.
S&D Group spokesperson for the European Parliament’s special tax committee, Peter Simon MEP said:
"The companies talked a lot, but unfortunately they said very little. Even questions directly targeted at dodgy tax practices or recent tax agreements with financial authorities were blocked almost mechanically with the same answer: 'they were merely making best use of the existing legal framework'. And each time there was no sense of guilt!
"It was very revealing to hear that these companies basically reject any ethical responsibility in the field of taxation. This attitude is in complete contradiction with the high-minded 'corporate principles' which these companies often emphasise. For the S&D Group in the European Parliament this conclusively shows – once again – that the less room there is for interpretation on current tax legislation in Europe, the better. We will resolutely fight any attempts by the EU member states to water down the rules."
S&D Euro MP and co-rapporteur of the special tax committee Jeppe Kofod added:
"Yesterday, we heard how multinational companies such as Google, IKEA and Apple are calling for simple and transparent tax legislation. Today, I am calling on them to provide simple and transparent answers. We will get the answers and the information we need, no matter how stubbornly these multinationals stick to their set and pre-prepared lines. The companies can decide for themselves whether they want to engage with us or not. We can and will legislate nonetheless. We need ambitious new rules on public country-by-country reporting and better information-exchange between tax jurisdictions. Tax evasion, in all its forms, is hurting Europe, hurting the developing world and hurting employees and small businesses.
“We want a fair and transparent system that ensures that everyone contributes to society and that no one can benefit from unlawful tax practices.
“My message is simple: no one is too rich or too big to pay tax. We all have to contribute to society.”
Find out more about our campaign for #TaxJustice in Europe.