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ECR

Tax transparency, yes; harmonisation, no

27 May 2015

Tax transparency, yes; harmonisation, no

The European Commission must not use concerns over aggressive tax planning as a cover for resurrecting plans for a move towards harmonisation of Europe’s corporate tax base, Morten Messerschmidt MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists MEP, said today.

The European Commission must not use concerns over aggressive tax planning as a cover for resurrecting plans for a move towards harmonisation of Europe’s corporate tax base, Morten Messerschmidt MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists MEP, said today.

Mr Messerschmidt is the ECR spokesman on the parliament’s recently constituted special committee on tax rulings. He has often argued that sunlight is the best disinfectant when it comes to combatting anti-competitive behaviour such as aggressive tax planning. However, he has warned that today’s debate on taxation by the European Commission should not discuss ways of resurrecting a common EU-wide tax base for corporation tax, which would act as a prelude to harmonisation of tax rates that would sound the death knell for European competitiveness.

Danish MEP Mr Messerschmidt said:

“More transparency in the tax affairs will prevent companies from exploiting complexity to avoid fair competition. We have always argued that when it comes to aggressive tax planning we believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant.

“The European Commission should find practical solutions that can muster the support of all EU Member States. It should not seek to pick a fight with some EU governments who are naturally wary of the tax harmonisation agenda many in Brussels clearly have.

“A common tax base would act as a stepping stone to further harmonisation of Europe’s taxation systems and then its rates. Fair tax competition within the EU makes us more competitive in the wider world and any efforts to harmonise it would likely see the majority of EU states required to raise their corporate tax rates. If the EU wants to make itself even more unpopular and uncompetitive at the same time then tax harmonisation is the right way to go. If it wants, like us, to reduce companies from distorting competition by not paying near their fair share, then it can do so with greater transparency and strong measures to support open competition.”

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