Against the backdrop of the economic crisis, the fight against tax evasion is taking on growing importance in the EU. The European Parliament will debate the subject, on 18 April, before adopting a resolution the following day calling for tightening up EU rules on savings taxation without delay.
The S&D group is behind the debate and vote on this resolution, following its study on tax fraud, published on 29 February.
The study by Richard Murphy, director of Tax Research UK, estimates that some €1,000 billion per year in tax revenues are lost in the 27 member states due to tax evasion and tax avoidance - the use of abusive strategies to minimise taxation due. On releasing the study, the S&D urged EU leaders to halve tax evasion by 2020, noting that this financial gulf strains member state finances and “affects public investments, growth and employment”.
“Combating tax evasion should be a key priority for the Union. A lot has been said but little has been done so far,” S&D group leader Hannes Swoboda (Austria) said in a statement, released on 16 April. “In their effort to reduce budget deficits, EU governments have mainly focused on cutting spending. Now they should act on increasing their tax revenues. Paying taxes is a basic civic duty. Everyone should contribute to the cost of the crisis. It is a matter of social justice,” adds the group spokeswoman, Elisa Ferreira (Portugal).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I agree.
The time to change the economic narrative ha arrived. I hope this report helps nudge us in a new direction. That does at least now look possible.