Tax Havens:Written question - 26529

(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 09 February 2016
HM Treasury
Tax Havens
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what his policy is on the proposal from the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee for an extended definition of a tax haven, with sanctions for countries defined as tax havens and companies using them to avoid taxes; and if he will press for the introduction of such a definition with other EU member states in the Council.
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 17 February 2016

The European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) has a keen interest in tax, and hence put forward certain proposals. However, the Commission has the sole power of initiative in relation to legislative measures. Tax files are to be agreed by unanimity at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN). The European Parliament’s role in this process in not formal, and purely consultative.

The term tax haven is often used as shorthand for low or zero tax jurisdictions. However, low tax rates are not by themselves harmful and the UK supports fair tax competition. The UK is working with other Member States in the EU Code of Conduct Group to identify harmful tax regimes and will continue to take strong action against aggressive avoidance and evasion.

The UK and other Member States have not yet seen any proposals from the European Commission or the European Parliament on public country-by-country reporting (CbCR). The Commission is due to publish an Impact Assessment on public CbCR shortly, and we are interested in the results of their analysis. The UK will carefully consider any proposals put forward by the Commission.

The UK played a leading role in encouraging other countries and jurisdictions to sign up to international tax transparency agreements during its G8 presidency in 2013. Thanks in large part to the UK's continuing leadership on this agenda, over 90 countries have now committed to exchange information on offshore accounts, beginning in 2017 or 2018. The UK also initiated the international work on CbCR and was the first country to formally commit to implementing the OECD model for CbCR, with legislation in the Finance Act 2015. We support the proposal to amend the Directive on Administrative Co-operation to require all EU Member States to adopt and exchange the OECD CbCR template.

The European Commission intends to publish a revised proposal for a mandatory Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) later this year. The Government will wait to see the detail of the Commission’s proposal, including a robust impact assessment, before finalising its position. However, we have stated that the UK will not sign up to anything that undermines our tax sovereignty.

Grouped Questions: 26530 | 26531

Share this page