The Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3) voted on 27 February in favour of its findings and recommendations as a conclusion to the 12-month mandate. The Committee was set as a prolongation of the previous PANA inquiry committee, responsible for analysing how to tackle the consequences of the Panama and Paradise Papers scandal and extending its scope to Europe’s alleged tax havens, with special attention to the banking and financial sector.
During its mandate, the TAX3 Committee met 34 times and organised 4 fact-finding missions to Washington, Latvia, the Isle of Man, Estonia and Denmark. Hundreds of experts were heard, including Commissioners, Ministers, prosecutors, investigative journalists, anti-money laundering- and tax experts, accountants, bankers and NGO representatives. Moreover, the Committee has commissioned six academic studies on subjects of special interest.
The key working points of the Committee have been:
ALDE MEP and TAX3 Chairman Petr Ježek said:
“Today’s vote on our final report marks a pivotal moment in the fight against money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion and sends a strong message to our citizens. The considerable amount of work achieved by this committee over its twelve-month mandate has shed light on unprecedented issues affecting the banking and financial sectors. The investigations and hearings have helped us draft stronger recommendations, notably on the need to enforce EU AML/CFT legislation better, stricter banking supervision, and enhanced information exchange among FIUs and tax authorities. It is now crucial to maintain pressure for the implementation of our recommendations to the governments and the relevant actors.”
ALDE MEP Nils Torvalds and TAX3 Coordinator said:
“This report marks yet another important step taken by the Parliament in the fight against tax evasion, avoidance and money laundering. During this mandate, the Parliament in general and the ALDE group in particular, has continuously pushed for more ambitious measures and the fact is that we have made a lot of progress. Several important pieces of legislation has tightened the rules and closed loopholes. However, progress is still too slow and it is mainly due to an unwillingness to move forward by many Member States in the Council. Even if the Member States overall would make long term gains if these issues were solved but unfortunately the political will is not there yet.
The citizens in the EU demand action and the Parliament has delivered a clear roadmap — now it’s up to the Council to act!”
ALDE MEP Wolf Klinz and shadow rapporteur said:
“Tax evasion is a crime. Member States facilitating tax evasion facilitate crime. Member States which are unwilling to compete fairly must therefore be sued for unfair competition and state aid practices by the European Commission. The era of special tax treatments within the EU must finally end. Fair tax competition must be the way forward in order to increase Europe’s overall competitiveness.”
The debate and the vote on the final report will take place at the March II Plenary part-session in Strasbourg (25–28 March 2019) and it is very likely that during next mandate, a subcommmittee related to tax evasion will be set as part of the Economic or the Civil Liberties Committee.