EU businesses’ total tax contribution – towards greater tax transparency

The fight against corporate tax avoidance is central to the European Commission’s political aims of ensuring a fairer Single Market and more stable environment for business. In 2016, to reinforce the link between taxation and real economic activity, the European Council adopted the Commission’s Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive. Member States started applying these measures from January 2019.

Despite this and other initiatives, the debate over how, and how much, companies should be taxed continues to rage. The OECD’s work on the taxation of the digitalisation of the economy could lead to radical changes in the way many multinational companies are taxed. Meanwhile governments are imposing unilateral measures. And public interest in companies and the tax they contribute remains high.

Governments, civil society, companies and the public in the EU must be able to have an informed dialogue about these complex issues. Whilst corporate tax is a critical component of the taxation of companies, some argue it is also necessary to consider tax policies in the context of the wide array of other taxes companies pay, as well as those they collect on behalf of governments, and the other ways in which they contribute to the societies in which they operate.

EURACTIV organised this high-level debate to discuss what data is needed to enable policymakers to create a coordinated, effective EU tax approach, fit for purpose in today’s global economy.

Questions included:

  • What data in respect of the taxation of companies would different stakeholders find useful, were it available?
  • What are the pros and cons of data relating to a single corporate group, versus aggregate data?
  • As many companies generate growth and create jobs, should paying corporate tax be seen as their most important contribution to society? What about social security contributions, property, resource, energy, environmental and other taxes?

* The European Business Tax Forum presented highlights from its first-time report on the Total Tax Contribution of large multinationals based in the EU and EFTA.


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