Europe Steps up Plans to Expose ‘Sweetheart’ Corporate Tax Deals

The European Commission (EC) is to unveil new proposals to bring secretive ‘sweetheart’ tax deals into the open as it steps up its campaign against corporate tax avoidance, reports UK daily
The Independent
.

Governments across the European Union (EU) will be asked to reveal details of any agreements with multinational corporations (MNCs) which could deplete the coffers of other EU nations.

The paper says that it has seen a draft of the EC’s plans, which highlight the problem of “aggressive tax planning” used by companies to benefit from loopholes in low-tax nations. While deals must adhere to EU law, it notes that “a lack of transparency regarding such rulings may impact on other countries”.

In future, under the proposals, if a government reaches a deal with a company that may impact tax collection in other member states it would be obliged to automatically share details of the transaction with other governments.

The proposals reflect mounting public anger in Europe at companies such as Apple and Starbucks, which have exploited complicated tax structures in countries such as the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg to shift their tax bills away from the nations where they do most of their business.

The EU believes that as much as €1 trillion is lost annually to tax evasion, tax fraud and aggressive tax planning.

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