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Germany's SPD Unveils Electoral Tax Motion

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

22 January 2014


Ahead of the upcoming European Parliament election in May, Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) have drafted a motion, calling for the swift introduction of a financial transactions tax (FTT) in Europe, for better regulation of the banks and financial markets, and for increased efforts to combat tax flight at European level.

In the motion, the SPD underlined the need for an FTT to be implemented rapidly in Europe, with a low tax rate and a wide tax base, as a means with which to ensure a contribution from those who they claim caused the crisis. The Conservatives and Liberals must therefore stop their delays and procrastinations, the Socialists warned.

Furthermore, the Social Democrats emphasized the importance of ensuring tax justice and a sense of responsibility in Europe. Highlighting the fact that taxes finance public services and future investments, and are therefore the basis of social justice in Europe, the SPD pointed out that each year over EUR1bn (USD1.36bn) in EU tax revenue is lost as a result of tax fraud or tax avoidance. Lost revenues mean lost public investment, the party made clear.

In addition, the SPD insisted that it would simply not accept that millionaires or large corporations in Europe fail to contribute to the public finances, as they are able to avoid their tax obligations through either legal or illegal tax avoidance. The tax burden merely increases on "normal" taxpayers as a result, the party added.

According to the SPD, in the Single Market, with "borderless corporate and capital mobility," an effective fight against tax havens, tax fraud, and tax evasion can only be achieved at European level.

The SPD stressed the importance of introducing a common corporate tax base and minimum rate of tax in Europe, to halt the race to the lowest rate of corporation tax among member states. Moreover, corporate taxes should be due where profits are realized, the party advocated. The Social Democrats also underlined the need for banking licenses to be revoked in cases where credit institutions either assist or facilitate tax evasion, and called for the revised European Savings Tax Directive to be adopted post haste, widening the scope of the provisions to include all capital income and legal persons.

Finally, the SPD made known its aim of guaranteeing that all tax havens are identified and published on a so-called "European black list" of non-compliant jurisdictions by the end of 2014, maintaining that specific sanctions should subsequently be imposed by EU member states on any third states appearing on that list.

On the issue of the financial transactions tax, European Tax Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta recently expressed his optimism that a "compromise" would be found in the first half of 2014, under the Greek Presidency of the EU. However, Šemeta conceded that his greatest concern now is that the need for a compromise between the 11 EU participating member states might lead to loopholes arising.

TAGS: compliance | tax | investment | tax compliance | tax avoidance | banking | corporation tax | tobin tax | tax rates | Germany | regulation | individual income tax | European Union (EU) | services | Europe | Tax | Tax Evasion

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