Naomi Fowler ■ Do you want to know how much tax multinational companies pay?
Yes, so would we… And now there’s an action today on twitter which we can all take to help this become reality.
All EU banks have been obliged to report their profits and tax paid on a country by country basis since 2015. And not just to tax authorities behind closed doors, but publicly. Because of that we now know for example that “Europe’s 20 biggest banks are registering over a quarter of their profits in tax havens – well out of proportion to the level of real economic activity that occurs there.” We also now know that Barclays (the 5th biggest European bank) registered €557m of its profits in Luxembourg and paid only €1m in taxes in 2015 – an effective rate of 0.2%. You can read more on all this in Oxfam’s report Opening the Vaults: The use of tax havens by Europe’s biggest banks.
Bringing these facts into the daylight creates considerable pressure on governments to take action. But now we need to extend *public* country-by-country reporting urgently to all multinationals. It is unacceptable in the 21st century that multinational companies can continue to obscure the real contributions they make to the societies from where they make their profits.
A decade after we first put forward the proposal for country-by-country reporting with accountant Richard Murphy, the OECD introduced an international standard. That means that multinationals now have to produce this data, so there are no additional compliance costs to making it public. On the technical side, we’ve been working with a broad range of experts and organisations to create a new database that will allow all sorts of users to benefit from the new transparency.
What’s missing is a requirement from governments to make the data public. The good news on this is that the European Parliament is looking at doing just that.
The Parliament published a very promising draft report earlier this year. On Wednesday 3 May, MEPs will consider amendments to the CBCR draft report. The amendments which have been submitted by some of the political groups in the European Parliament could fundamentally change the final result in Parliament, and potentially bring the proposal closer in line with the seriously flawed proposal of the European Commission.
To ensure our message is heard loud and clearly by MEPs – that citizens demand to know what big companies are paying in tax, and where – there will be a coordinated twitter storm on Tuesday 2 May at 12.00 (CET – Brussels time). This is crucial to show there is public pressure from civil society ahead of the vote.
You can support that by tweeting through the www.endsecrecy.eu website which allows you to tweet MEPs. It also includes useful resources on the case for public country-by-country reporting.
So, on Tuesday 2 May at 12.00 (CET), please join us and tweet your MEPs:
- Go to this website: EndSecrecy.EU
- Scroll down to the pictures of key European Parliamentarians who are now discussing and deciding on whether to be for or against public country-by-country reporting. The tweets are already written for you (and you can tweet in English or the native language of the MEPs)
- Click the Tweet button below each MEP to tweet MEPs
- Done! You’ve joined your voice with many other EU citizens. Our demands have become a roar that can’t be ignored!