EU supports tax rorting

05 November 2015 6:30 am

The European Union has become the world’s centre for tax fraud.

According to a report from non-profit group European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), a large number of the scandals that emerged over the past year have strong links to the EU and its Member States.

The report, Fifty Shades of Tax Dodging, highlights the complex and dysfunctional EU system of corporate tax rulings, treaties, letterbox companies and special corporate tax regimes. Contrary to the promises of creating ‘transparency’, a growing number of EU countries are now proposing strict confidentiality to conceal what multinational corporations pay in taxes.

The report details how Netherlands is being used to minimise tax payments in Malawi and Greece.

And the leader in all this is Germany. It has sanctioned use of shell companies, trusts, holdings and foundations that can help obscure the source of assets and cash.

That’s hardly surprising.

Consider Deutsche Bank which has been investigated for money-laundering transactions by clients in Russia. The amount of money involved could exceed a total of $6 billion.

Or look at HSBC’s Swiss banking arm which helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of dollars of assets, doling out bundles of untraceable cash and advising clients on how to circumvent domestic tax authorities, according to a huge cache of leaked secret bank account files.

So far we've seen lots of talk coming out of Europe about cracking down on tax fraud. They're saying one thing, and doing another