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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 23 April 2013

Fighting tax evasion: Commission sets up a Platform for Tax Good Governance

As part of its concerted drive against tax evasion and avoidance, the Commission today set up the new Platform for Tax Good Governance. The Platform will monitor Member States' progress in tackling aggressive tax planning and clamping down on tax havens, in line with the Recommendations presented by the Commission last year (see IP/12/1325). The aim is to ensure that real and effective action is taken by Member States to address these problems, within a coordinated EU framework. The Platform will be comprised of a wide cross-section of interested parties - national tax authorities, European Parliament, businesses, academics, NGOs and other stakeholders. This will also facilitate dialogue and exchange of expertise, which can feed into a more coordinated and effective EU approach against tax evasion and avoidance.

Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Statistics, Audit and Anti-Fraud, said: "In battling tax evasion, we are battling to protect the fairness of our tax systems, the competitiveness of our economies and the solidarity of our Member States. There is too much at stake for this battle to be lost. The renewed vigour amongst Member States to take up this fight is more than welcome. It must now be channelled into action. The Platform I am launching today will keep Member States on their toes. It will ensure results mirror expectations when it comes to fighting tax evasion."

The Platform for Tax Good Governance was one of the initiatives set out in the Commission's Action Plan against tax evasion in December 2012 (see MEMO/12/949). It will be made up of around 45 members: a high level delegate from each Member State's tax authority and up to 15 non-governmental representatives. The latter will be appointed by the Commission, on the basis of an open application process. The call for applications has also been launched today, with a view to selecting the organisations to participate. Organisations will be selected for a 3 year mandate, which can be renewed through a further successful application after that period.

Background

The Platform will follow in particular the progress being made on two Recommendations linked to this Action Plan.

The first Recommendation foresees a strong EU stance against tax havens, going beyond the current international measures. Using common criteria, Member States are encouraged to identify tax havens and place them on national blacklists.

The second Recommendation is on Aggressive Tax Planning. It sets out ways to block off opportunities exploited by companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax. These include reinforcing the anti-abuse provisions in bilateral tax treaties, national legislation and EU corporate legislation. Any artificial arrangement carried out for tax avoidance purposes would be ignored and companies would be taxed instead on the basis of actual economic substance.

Next steps

The first meeting of the Platform is provisionally planned for 10 June 2013.

Useful Links

Follow Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta on Twitter

Homepage of Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta, EU Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-fraud Commissioner:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/semeta/index_en.htm

The Commission's Action Plan and Recommendations can be found on:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/common/publications/com_reports/taxation/index_en.htm

Website on tax evasion and tax avoidance:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/tax_fraud_evasion/index_en.htm

Call for Applications to become a member of the platform:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/resources/documents/taxation/tax_fraud_evasion/platform_call-applications_en.pdf

Commission Decision

Contacts :

Emer Traynor (+32 2 292 15 48)

Natasja Bohez Rubiano (+32 2 296 64 70)


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