UK Prime minister David Cameron on Wednesday (24 April) called for his peers in the European Council to take decisive action on tax evasion before the G8 summit in June.
“Tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance are global problems that require truly global solutions,” Cameron wrote in a letter to European Council President, Commission President José Manuel Barroso and the leaders of the other 26 member states.
In an EU summit on 22 May Cameron is expected to support the rapid adoption of a multilateral automatic information exchange system as a new global standard in order to push further the G8 agenda on tax evasion.
“Otherwise, tax evaders will simply play the system and arbitrage between one jurisdiction to another,” he said. The prime minister added that international efforts should focus on a concrete plan to increase transparency.
Cameron is also pushing for a reform of global tax rules through the G20 – a grouping of 20 of the world's major economies – and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, including on areas such as country-by-country reporting by companies on the taxes they pay in their countries of operation.
Cameron made reference to the recent steps taken to clamp down on tax evasion, notably the completion of automatic information exchange agreements with the UK's Crown dependencies – the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey – and the announcement with France, Germany, Italy and Spain to pilot such data exchange.
The UK premier sees the G8 Summit in June, which unites leaders from the world's eight largest economies, as a timely opportunity for the G8 and the EU to inject the political will required to raise international efforts to a new level and take radical, rather than incremental, action.
Time to stop tax leakages, MEPs say
Meanwhile the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs adopted on Wednesday a report on the fight against fraud, tax evasion and tax havens .
"Now is the time to take determined action against tax fraud, tax evasion and tax havens and end tax leakages from our societies," said the shadow rapporteur for the European People's Party (EPP) group, Sirpa Pietikäinen.
Leaks of offshore tax havens, together with a ministerial-level fiscal scandal in France, have created the political momentum needed for governments to take strong action, the MEP said.
Pietikäinen urged the Council to agree on the automatic exchange of information on savings as a matter of priority. “This is essential in trying to curb illicit and malevolent tax evasion and avoidance," she said. She called on member states to agree on a directive for a common consolidated corporate tax base.