Focus: Tax justice

The Lux Leaks simply confirmed what everyone already knew: the EU is a tax haven for corporations and the super-rich. Every year, EU taxpayers lose over one billion euros through tax evasion and avoidance. Luxembourg and most other EU states offer corporations favourable tax deals so that they can find loopholes for reducing their tax burden. This is another reason why DIE LINKE voted against former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean Claude Juncker when he was seeking confirmation as President of the EU Commission. We will not tolerate organised crime on our government benches. This section provides information about my activities as shadow rapporteur for the Left faction in the Special Committee on Tax Rulings.

The Special Committee on Tax Havens

DIE LINKE oppose the way the leaders of the Conservative, Social Democrat and Liberal parliamentary groups have resisted the setting up of a European Parliament committee of inquiry into tax rulings. A special committee has been set up, which – unlike a committee of inquiry – has no right to call witnesses or study the confidential documents of Member States. On the special committee I am now the Left faction's shadow rapporteur for tax justice.
I also campaign for greater protection for whistleblowers and investigative journalists, without whom many of the scandalous details of the tax mafia would never have come to light. The fact that the rich and powerful find them uncomfortable means that they are still failing to receive adequate support from the EU, as demonstrated by the ongoing court case against Antoine Deltour, the Lux Leaks whistleblower.

Tax justice

I want tax havens to be abolished, perhaps through the creation of a broad, harmonised basis for assessing corporation tax (which would determine the amount of tax paid by companies), EU-wide minimum tax levels for businesses, and a capital levy on millionaires in order to mitigate excessive tax competition. Multinationals such as Amazon and Google must be taxed more heavily at source so that it is more difficult for them to siphon their profits off to low-tax countries. Banks that regularly assist with tax evasion should have their licences revoked.
We also need comprehensive obligations on transparency and reporting for multinational corporations – perhaps a worldwide finance and assets register – and a complete, automated exchange of information. This should not be restricted to the tax authorities but should be accessible to eligible members of the public. This means that states and territories which fail to cooperate even after a transitionary period should be excluded from the global financial system, e.g. companies should be banned from doing business with subsidiaries or agents in those countries.