Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, welcomed the corporate tax base proposals presented by the European Commission in the European Parliament today.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Ms. Childers said:
“Similar proposals have been unsuccessfully floated over the decades only to end up blocked by Member States. But times have changed, and the mood among ordinary taxpayers has soured as global avoidance schemes were brought to light, from the Luxleaks to the Panama Papers.
“Rules to determine where profits are made so they can be taxed accordingly make sense, and will enable us to close existing loopholes.
“Consolidation will eventually allow for a single tax declaration to be filed for all activity across the European Union, but SMEs will not be forced to do it if this system does not suit their business.
“Also it’s important to note that EU rules to impose a single tax rate are not being proposed, nor can they be imposed against our will.
“We need to acknowledge and face the figures. The current tax regimes allow big corporations to end up paying effective rates that would be laughable if they weren’t scandalous. This not only undermines the public purse, but it is dangerous because it undermines public trust.
“It shouldn’t come as a shock when ordinary taxpayers start to lend an ear to claims that ‘the system is rigged’.
“When it comes to its choice of corners to fight, our government’s challenge to the Apple tax ruling from the European Commission was predictable. Now some in Fine Gael claim that the UK, a natural ally on these matters, could try and champion an even more attractive tax regime for multinationals after Brexit. This is a red herring to distract us from what is actually being proposed by the Commission. Even if it does highlight the fragility of tax competition when others set out to race you to the bottom.
“How can we expect our claim to an advantageous – but effective – tax rate that is appropriate to our national circumstances be taken seriously, if we are not in turn serious about countering tax avoidance?”