EU citizens back tougher action on tax avoidance

25 Nov 15

Eight out of ten Europeans think there should be a legal clampdown on tax havens, a pan-European poll commissioned by 24 NGOs has found.

The results of the YouGov poll of more than 18,000 EU citizens, released ahead of a vote in the European parliament tomorrow to approve recommendations to close abusive tax loopholes, found widespread public concern around corporate tax avoidance.

Aurore Chardonnet, EU policy advisor on inequality and taxation for Oxfam, one of the NGOs who commissioned the poll, said it is clear citizens across the EU share NGOs calls for ending corporate tax abuses.

She called for the adoption of clear rules to ensure the public knows where companies generate profit, including public country-by-country reporting which would force multinationals to publicise information on their activities in each of the countries that they operate.

“EU member states must adopt these rules to contribute to a fairer global tax system that works for all,” she said.

The poll found that 77% of people agree that the law needs to change to prevent companies and wealthy individuals from taking advantage of tax havens.

Over half (56%) of people on the continent think that corporate tax avoidance is draining poorer countries of vital funds. A similar proportion (54%) agree that public services like schools and hospitals suffer as a result of current tax arrangements.

Oxfam and ActionAid, who also funded the report, have called on EU member states to commit to further actions to tackle corporate tax avoidance, that go beyond the reforms finalised by the OECD earlier this month.

They lend their voices to arguments that while ambitious, the plan has delivered insufficient changes to benefit citizens in the developing world especially. A second generation of tax reforms are needed, they said.

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