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Carthy welcomes MEPs recommendations on combating tax avoidance

6 July, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP


Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has welcomed some of the recommendations made by the European Parliament today in a vote on tax rulings and tax avoidance.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Mr Carthy said: “The TAXE 2 report was a non-legislative report by the special committee on tax rulings established in the aftermath of the LuxLeaks revelations.

“Whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphael Hallet exposed hundreds of secret tax rulings granted by the Luxembourg tax authorities to more than 350 major multinationals, facilitated by accounting giant PriceWaterhouse Coopers. The legality of some of these rulings has been questioned, and they allowed these corporations to avoid paying billions of euro in tax in the states where they actually generated their profits.

“These rulings, which were made from 2002-2010, took place while Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, was both Prime Minister and Minister of Finance for Luxembourg."

Carthy, a member of the European Parliament’s new Panama Papers committee of inquiry, commented: “While I welcomed many of the recommendations in this report, it also had certain limitations.

“Tax avoidance is a problem with an international dimension, as demonstrated by Luxleaks. Multinational corporations exploit national differences, mismatches and cross-border loopholes in order to avoid paying their fair share of tax, so the response must be international.

“Sinn Féin supports a global anti-tax avoidance approach under the auspices of the United Nations. We support the OECD anti-Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) action plan but we believe it does not go far enough. Effective action can be taken at the European level in order to close loopholes that enable tax avoidance within the single market.

“The recommendations that I welcome in this report include setting up an EU public register of beneficial owners of companies and drawing up a tax havens blacklist. A code of conduct for banks and tax advisors and action against the abuse of patent boxes are also recommendations I support.

“However, there were mentions in the non-legislative report of the planned Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base, which Sinn Féin is opposed to as we believe it will infringe on the tax sovereignty of Member States. The report, in my view, also failed to take a strong stance politically on the role of Juncker and others in the Luxleaks scandal. For these reasons, Sinn Féin MEPs did not vote in favour of the report, but abstained." ENDS

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