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The Presidents of the European Council and Commission have strongly endorsed the initiatives recommended by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for tackling tax avoidance and evasion.
In a joint letter to the 28 European Union (EU) heads of state and government, Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso run through the key issues earmarked for discussion at the G20 summit in September. In the letter, they stress the need to push forward with plans to crack down on avoidance and evasion, and point to the steps already taken by the EU and the G8 to develop an "ambitious agenda."
Van Rompuy and Barroso "fully support" the work begun by the OECD to develop a multilateral standard of automatic information exchange, something they believe "should build on existing automatic exchange systems in order to maximize efficiency." The Presidents also make clear that they back the OECD's recently released Action Plan on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS). Commissioned by G20 Finance Ministers, the Plan makes fifteen recommendations designed to help governments put a stop to multinationals paying little or no tax.
According to the letter, this is "the right approach to curbing corporate tax avoidance worldwide," and "fully supports our common objective to ensure that everyone pays a fair share of tax…and that taxation reflects where economic activity takes place." Van Rompuy and Barroso are keen to ensure "consistency and coordination between EU and OECD efforts and develop internationally agreed standards for the prevention of BEPS in a constantly changing environment."
Finally, the Presidents urge the G20 "to remain committed to ensuring that non-cooperative jurisdictions adhere to [international] standards in the areas of tax, anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism, and prudential standards."
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