Chapter News

Commission proposes public tax transparency rules for multinationals

The College proposes to introduce public reporting requirements for the largest companies operating in the EU and in tax havens. It also assesses progress by Greece to address deficiencies at external borders and discusses way forward on visa reciprocity.

Tax transparency: country-by-country reporting by multinationals

Fighting against tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning is a political priority for the European Commission. Since the beginning of its mandate, the Juncker Commission has pursued an ambitious agenda to ensure fair taxation, meaning that companies should pay their fair amount of taxes in the country where they generate their profits.

Today, in its weekly meeting, the Commission proposed public tax transparency rules for multinationals on a country-by-country basis. The proposal builds on the Commission’s work to tackle corporate tax avoidance in Europe, estimated to cost EU countries EUR 50-70 billion a year in lost tax revenues.

Once adopted by the Council and the European Parliament, the new rules will apply to the approximately 6.500 largest companies operating in the EU with global revenues exceeding EUR 750 million a year without damaging their competitiveness and without affecting small and medium sized companies.

Today’s proposal will amend the Accounting Directive (Directive 2013/34/EU) to ensure that large groups publish annually a report disclosing the profit and the tax accrued and paid in each Member State on a country-by-country basis. This information will remain available for five years. Contextual information (turnover, number of employees and nature of activities) will enable an informed analysis and will have to be disclosed for every EU country in which a company is active, as well as for those tax jurisdictions that do not abide by tax good governance standards (so-called tax havens). The proposal therefore also addresses concerns flowing from the Panama Papers.

The same rules would apply to all multinationals doing business in Europe. In addition, companies would have to publish an aggregate figure for total taxes paid outside the EU.

Back to Schengen: assessment of Greece Action Plan and latest figures on relocation and resettlement

The Commission adopted its assessment of the Action Plan presented by the Greek authorities which lays out how Greece will tackle deficiencies in its external border management.

Greece’s Action Plan is its roadmap for implementing the recommendations made by the Council on how to address shortcomings in the management of Greece’s portion of the EU external border.

The assessment constitutes another stage in the process set out by the Commission on the Roadmap ‘Back to Schengen’ which seeks to end temporary internal border controls and re-establish the normal functioning of the Schengen area before the end of the year.

The Commission also presented the latest figures on the relocation and resettlement of asylum seekers in the member states. Overall, progress since the Commission’s first report has been unsatisfactory: on relocation, little progress has been made since mid-March, while we see good progress on resettlement. Good progress on resettlement is also the result of the EU-Turkey agreement which has shifted greater focus onto resettlement efforts. Greater efforts on relocation, however, are increasingly urgent in view of the humanitarian situation in Greece.

Visa reciprocity

The Commission adopted a political Communication on the state of play and way forward as regards the situation of non-reciprocity with certain third countries in the area of visa policy.

The United States, Canada and Brunei continue to apply visa requirements for citizens of some EU Member States, despite their citizens benefiting from an EU-wide visa waiver whereas full reciprocity was achieved with Japan in December 2015 and with Australia in June 2015.

Compliments of the European Commission