If you were to start counting out loud ‘One, two, three, four, five….’, it would take more than 31 thousand years to count to one trillion. This is the number of euros lost due to tax evasion and avoidance each year in the European Union.
I spoke to the Finnish MEP Satu Hassi about the social consequences of this non-payment of taxes.
In December 2012, the European Commission presented an Action Plan which included the automatic exchange of information within the EU; negotiating with non-EU neighbours for greater transparency; tightening up the loopholes in a previous directive which enabled ‘double non-taxation’ as well as dealing with the problems of tax havens, transparency of multinationals, digital taxation and VAT fraud.
At the G20 in September 2013, leaders also agreed on measures to tackle the worldwide problems of tax avoidance and evasion.
Whilst EU member states are expected to tighten the loophole allowing ‘non-double taxation’ by 31 December 2014, the problem of tax avoidance and evasion is a worldwide one and there is much progress to be made.
Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council speaks ahead of the European Council of 22 May 2013 concerning the subject of tax evasion on the EU summit agenda.