EP Call on Reform of EU Blacklist on Tax Havens
By an overwhelming majority of 587 votes in favour (50 against and 46 abstentions), MEPs adopted a resolution on reforming the EU list of tax havens. The resolution backs a motion of December 2020 prepared by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (→ https://eucrim.eu/news/meps-call-reform-eu-list-tax-havens/). In view of the fact that the current list only covers less than 2% of worldwide tax revenue losses (according to a 2020 tax justice report → https://eucrim.eu/news/tax-justice-report-documents-global-tax-losses/) MEPs reiterate their call that the EU’s existing listing system is “confusing and ineffective”. The resolution of 21 January 2021 makes several demands for a new approach:
- The criterion of whether a country’s tax system is fair or not should not only be based on preferential tax rates but needs to include other harmful tax practices;
- Countries with a 0% corporate tax rate policy or with no taxes on company profits should be automatically placed on the blacklist;
- Removal requirements must be more stringent; countries that only make token tweaks should remain on the list;
- The EU must remedy the lack of transparency: all third countries need to be treated and screened fairly using the same criteria; the process of establishing the list must be formalised through a legally binding instrument by the end of 2021;
- EU Member States which have tax avoidance schemes in place must be regularly evaluated and urged to implement recommendations.
MEPs also call on the Commission to put forward a legislative proposal for coordinated defensive measures against tax avoidance and evasion. The EU’s policy towards non-cooperative tax jurisdictions has been a constant issue of debate between the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council (→ eucrim 1/2018, 16; → eucrim 1/2020, 18).