MEPs of the subcommittee on tax matters on Thursday quizzed experts on tax transparency seeking to understand what standards could be proposed, what works best and what pitfalls to avoid.
With tax transparency gaining more importance and occupying an important spot on the international agenda be it in the EU, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), the G20 and the United Nations, MEPs heard four leading experts in the area.
Dalia Grybauskaité (Co-Chair of the High Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI)), Eelco van der Enden (Member of the Board of Directors at Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Chairman of the Tax Policy Group of Accountancy Europe), Alan McLean (Executive Vice President, Taxation and Controller, Shell) and Michael Jaeger (General Secretary of Taxpayers Association of Europe) presented their views on ways to improve tax transparency and then fielded questions from the MEPs.
Numerous MEPs asked for feedback on the recently approved EU legislation on country by country tax reporting and how the rules should be followed up. Many also quizzed the experts for their views on a minimum global corporate tax rate. Some MEPs agreed that a more simple tax system was needed because this would automatically make it more difficult to dodge taxes. On the other hand others advocated that tax compliance would best be served by establishing low rates.
During the question and answers session quite different approaches emerged between Mr Mc Lean of Shell and Mr Jaeger of the Taxpayers association. Mr McLean’s point of departure was that for a company being transparent on what taxes were paid actually contributed to that company’s competitive advantage. On the other hand, Mr Jaeger argued that an accent should be put on not stigmatising initiatives of legally minimising a tax burden, which was essential especially for SMEs. The two also had different approaches towards some parts of the country by country reporting legislation.
You can follow the meeting again here.