Reacting to the OpenLux investigation published this morning, Aurore Lalucq, S&D spokesperson on tax matters, said:
“Luxembourg is still a tax haven. If anyone had any doubts, OpenLux dispels them: 55.000 offshore companies with assets of over 6 trillion Euros, held by companies like Amazon and Fiat - that is the scale of tax avoidance revealed by the investigation. Transparency rules passed by the European Parliament on anti-money laundering have helped to disclose the true scale of the scandal. Now, we need to push for the right legislation to shut down EU tax havens.
“It is time to get serious about cracking down on EU tax havens. Firstly, we need a global, or at least an EU-wide minimum effective tax rate, to put a floor to tax competition between member states. Ordinary people must not be left to pick up the unpaid tax bill of the rich and powerful multinational companies. Secondly, cooperation between tax administrations must be deepened to make it harder for tax evaders to escape the net. Thirdly, as OpenLux has revealed, a large majority of Luxembourg companies are purely financial holdings that can be used to disguise tax avoidance, so we need substance rules to put an end to such shell companies. Finally, EU policies on cross border tax avoidance should be seriously strengthened when it comes to wealth and high personal income.”
Jonás Fernández, S&D spokesperson for economic and monetary affairs, said:
“Some tax justice solutions are within reach to ensure transparency delivers fully. As the EU is about to revise its list of tax havens next week, we recall our demand to lead by example and to subject EU countries to the same rules and criteria as other countries. The EU listing criteria should also be revised to ensure greater transparency and seriously halt tax avoidance opportunities. In two weeks, EU ministers will decide on public country-by-country reporting, which has been blocked for years in the Council. OpenLux proves once again that we need this reform of company law to oblige transnational companies to disclose income tax information and thereby prevent tax avoidance.
“In the EU, we lose 170 billion Euros every year in taxes due to such loopholes that enable aggressive tax planning. Money we urgently need to build hospitals and schools, especially now during the pandemic. It is time for tax justice.”
Note to the editors:
Public-country-by-country reporting should be on the agenda of the next Competitiveness Council COMPET (Internal Market and Industry) ministers’ meeting on 25 February 2021.