This week, S&D MEPs Evelyn Regner (Austria) and Hugues Bayet (Belgium) led a majority in the European Parliament on a compromise agreement to ensure greater corporate tax transparency in Europe. Following a long battle with the Conservatives, the S&D Group secured a strong proposal which will force companies with a turnover of at least €750 million to disclose information such as their assets, employees and the amount of taxes paid in every country they do business. The S&D Group ensured that this includes information about their subsidiaries established outside the EU including in tax havens - hugely widening the scope of the law.
The vote opens the door to the negotiations with the Council of ministers.
S&D Group negotiator for the legal affairs committee Evelyn Regner stated:
“The deal is a great political victory and a step forward in the fight against tax evasion by big multinationals. The agreement will increase corporate and tax transparency by enabling citizens and civil society organisations worldwide to follow the money. The proposal will also ensure that taxes are paid where profits are made, helping to provide adequate revenue for public services and benefiting the wider economy. We can’t accept that big companies which make huge profits do not take their fair share of tax. It is a matter of fairness. We want a tax system in Europe, which makes sure that big and small companies pay their fair share of tax.
"Societies have the right to know whether multinationals are paying their taxes or not and where they are shifting the profits they make in our single market to. This must be the case whether they are based within the EU or not. Transparency is the key to fight tax evasion and profit shifting. It's a matter of creating a level playing field between big companies and SMEs and a matter of fairness for all tax payers."
S&D Group negotiator for the economic and monetary affairs Hugues Bayet added:
“We fought very hard to extend the transparency requirements to multinationals with a turnover of € 40 million. However, due to opposition from the liberals and conservatives the law will only cover those with turnover of € 750 million, one out of ten big companies. Despite this, we have managed to introduce a revision clause so after 4 years, the European Commission will have to carry out an impact assessment in order to evaluate whether this threshold should be reduced. We have no doubt that we can succeed with pressure from citizens.
“We also have introduced sanctions in case of non-compliance. We have already seen that these proposals will work. Thanks to the public country-by-country reporting information of financial organisation, introduced in the EU legislation after pressure from the socialists and democrats, the NGO Oxfam was able to unveil the unacceptable use of tax havens by the 20 largest European banks.
“It is now crucial that we safeguard the important achievements in the negotiations with the Council. "