“It is important to take effective steps to fight tax evasion and tax fraud, particularly in the current context of fiscal consolidation, in order to protect revenues and ensure public confidence in the fairness and effectiveness of tax systems.” This was the opening sentence of the conclusions on taxation when the EU heads of state last met in May this year.
Our leaders called for ‘rapid progress’ and this call was followed by a number of concrete points of action.
As regards the savings tax directive, the leaders called for “its adoption before the end of the year”. This was good news, since this directive addresses automatic exchange of information – a key part of financial transparency.
They went on to stress that: “The revision of the third anti-money laundering Directive should be adopted by the end of the year.” Another key directive - another piece of good news.
On the issue of secret ownership of companies, trusts and foundations – an issue which Eurodad and our members consider a key step in the fight against financial and corporate opacity, our leaders said: “Identification of beneficial ownership, including as regards companies, trusts and foundations, is essential.” We couldn’t agree more.
Another key issue, which Eurodad and our allies have been advocating strongly for, also made it into the list of action points when the leaders promised to examine a proposal to amend the directive on non-financial reporting “with a view to ensuring country-by-country reporting by large companies and groups”. Excellent!
Finally, they promised us to “report back on progress on all these issues by December 2013.”
As we now approach the end of the final EU leaders’ meeting in 2013, tax campaigners once again turn their eyes to Brussels. The meeting is set to conclude this afternoon. Stay tuned.