Germany, Italy & France Call for Strengthened Fight on Tax Avoidance, Registers of Beneficial Ownership

December 3rd, 2014

In the wake of last month’s LuxLeaks investigation, the G20’s heavy focus on tax avoidance and evasion, and the ongoing trilogue discussion in Europe over the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, Ministers from Germany, France, and Italy have issued a letter calling on greater harmonization and strategy in fighting against tax evasion and avoidance.

“This strong initiative taken by the EU, which could be proposed by the end of 2014, would give Europe the leading place it deserves at the international level,” said the letter, signed by Germany’s Wolfgang Schäuble, France’s Michel Sapin and Italy’s Pier Carlo Padoan.

“Our citizens and our companies expect us to cope with tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning. It is our common duty to meet their expectation by ensuring that everyone pays their fair share of tax to the state where profits are generated,” said the letter.

Luxembourg is defending itself against allegations of sweetheart deals between multinationals and tax authorities. New European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, a former Luxembourg prime minister, has said he will fight tax evasion with a greater automatic exchange of information.

The Luxembourg affair highlighted how companies exploit tax competition among EU member states to pay less.

The Ministers also address the creation of EU-wide beneficial ownership registers, which would collect information on who is actually behind a company or other legal entity. Making these registers public would drastically limit the ability for anonymous companies to be used in money laundering, tax evasion, and corruption.

You can read the full letter here.

Written by Christian Freymeyer

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