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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 20 July 2013

Commissioner Šemeta welcomes G20 Finance Ministers' commitments on new measures to fight tax evasion and avoidance

I warmly welcome the G20 Finance Ministers' commitments today on concrete measures to better tackle tax evasion and corporate tax avoidance worldwide.

This confirms a paradigm shift in international taxation – one that will make it fairer, more effective and better equipped for the 21st century economy.

The OECD's Action Plan to tackle Base Erosion and Profit Shifting is the right approach to curbing corporate tax avoidance worldwide.

The BEPS Action Plan complements the measures put forward by the Commission to tackle aggressive tax planning in the EU, which European leaders endorsed in May.

It fully supports our common objectives to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of tax – whether large multinational or small corner shop – and that taxation reflects where economic activity takes place. It also fills important gaps that can only be effectively dealt with at international level.

I particularly welcome the commitment to examine ways to overcome the tax challenges of the digital economy. This is an issue of high importance for the Commission and the Member States, and it will be among the issues to be looked at during the October European Council dedicated to the Digital Agenda. We will be working closely both within the EU and with the OECD to find answers to the complex questions that taxing the digital economy poses.

The endorsement of automatic exchange of information as the global standard is extremely welcome.

Without a doubt, automatic information exchange is the best way of ensuring that every country can collect the taxes that it is legitimately due.

For some time now, the EU has been the fore-runner in this field. The international consensus to follow our lead, with more openness and greater transparency, gives credence to our approach.

It also creates the perfect environment for us to press ahead with expanding the scope of automatic information exchange within the EU, and seeking the same from our closest neighbours.

What is important now is that these commitments are followed through with swift action. We must strike while the iron is hot, and keep to the ambitious timeline set out by the OECD.

This is vital for ensuring fair taxation. Our honest citizens and businesses mustn't shoulder an added burden because of the misdeeds of tax evaders. This holds true both within the EU and worldwide.


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