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Fancy a peek at Facebook’s earnings and tax bills? Tax Eurocrats certainly do.
So keen are they to compel the world’s largest multinational corporations to open their tax arrangements with EU governments to full public scrutiny that the European Commission is expected to table the necessary legislation in April.
Tax legislation in the EU requires the agreement of all 28 governments. However, sources said the new rules would be effected by amending one of two existing directives. That would allow them to push through the measures with a qualified majority, or 16 of the 28.
It will come as no surprise that the US is concerned about the “basic fairness” of the proposed arrangements which will have ready application to US companies. In support of this view by Robert Stack, the US Treasury’s deputy assistant secretary for international tax affairs,Tove Maria Ryding, tax justice coordinator for the European Network on Debt and Development , a group of 46 NGOs fighting for a fairer global financial system, said that if the commission chooses to limit public reporting to large companies – those with more than €750m in annual turnover – then 85% of the world’s multinationals would be unaffected.
“That would obviously be a very big problem,” she said. “If you want to have a situation where small and medium-sized enterprises who don’t use these tax structures can compete, then we can’t leave 85% of the multinationals with very obvious loopholes that mean that they can avoid taxation.”
It is curious to note that Jean-ClaudeJuncker President of the European Commission was both the Prime Minister and Finance minister of Luxembourg during the time when that country reportedly ” rubber-stamped tax avoidance on an industrial scale.”