18.06.2015 | European Public Service Union

Commission’s action plan on corporate taxation lacks clear actions

The European Commission has issued its new action plan entitled A fairer corporate tax system in the EU on June 17. Europe’s trade unions support a fairer and more efficient corporate tax regime addressing tax avoidance which is robbing society of billions of Euros to finance public services and social protection and to redistribute wealth and income. But the Commission’s plans lack clear actions.

The Commission states that companies must pay tax where they make profits and stop shifting profits to low tax regimes for example through intellectual property patent boxes. An important case was McDonald’s as the Unhappy Meal report of EPSU and others demonstrated and which triggered a preliminary investigation by the European Commission.

“The plan offers a good and clear diagnosis but no immediate prospect of a cure” said ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Ségol. “The Commission seems determined to put an end to corporate tax abuse yet two central measures of the plan, a mandatory common corporate consolidated tax base (CCCTB) and country by country reporting still need to be published. People expect actions as well as fine words.”

“Nurses, social carers, tax inspectors, firefighters will continue being told to tighten their belt due to lack of public cash while profitable transnational companies like Ikea, Google, Amazon, Starbucks, Fiat Finance and McDonald’s pay less than 1% on astronomical profits”, said EPSU General Secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan. Why delay until end of 2016 a revised CCCTB that should indeed be mandatory for multinationals with a minimum tax rate of at least 25%? Doesn’t the Commission trust its own judgment on such a crucial issue of public concern?”.

“The only concrete measure on the table is a common list of 30 tax havens, which we have been calling for to avoid competing national lists, but the proposal includes no deterring sanctions and makes no mention of notorious business-friendly tax regimes at the heart of the EU. The billions of hidden Euros will continue accumulating.” said Bernadette Ségol.

“Whilst 10% of the jobs in EU tax administrations have been axed since 2008, the one measure that could facilitate their work, public country by country reporting, is delayed despite all the evidence that it can work and must become reality now” added Mr Goudriaan.

For more information:

- EPSU, Pablo Sanchez, psanchez@epsu.org 0032 (0) 474626633

- ETUC, Julian Scola, jscola@etuc.org 0032 (0) 486117394