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Most Europeans Want Tougher Action Against Tax Fraud

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

03 August 2016

Three-quarters of Europeans want the European Union to do more to tackle tax evasion, according to a new survey by Eurobarometer.

The survey was conducted among 27,969 people from all member states on April 9-18, 2016. It found that tax evasion was considered the third most serious issue confronting the EU after terrorism (cited by 82 percent of respondents) and unemployment (77 percent).

The survey highlighted national variations in attitudes towards tax avoidance. For example, in Portugal, Cyprus, and Spain, 91 percent, 86 percent and 89 percent of respondents, respectively, wanted the EU to do more than it is doing at present to clamp down on tax fraud. In Austria, Poland and Estonia, these levels dropped to 52 percent, 56 percent, and 61 percent, respectively.

However, only one percent of Estonian respondents want the EU to reduce its current focus on anti-avoidance and evasion, whereas in Greece, 17 percent answered that the EU was already doing too much in this area - the highest percentage in the EU. The second-highest percentage was in the UK, where nine percent of respondents thought that the EU should do less about tax fraud.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Roberto Gualtieri, the Italian Chairman of the European Parliament's Economic Committee, said: "75 percent of the EU population expects more EU action on the fight against tax fraud: it is necessary to respond effectively to this concern."

Gualtieri added: "The European Parliament is leading this fight, by adopting ambitious and concrete proposals to increase tax transparency and combat tax avoidance, calling for the automatic exchange of tax rulings between member states and public country-by-country reporting for multinationals, together with a common definition of tax havens and strong and concrete sanctions."

TAGS: tax | value added tax (VAT) | Ireland | Portugal | tax avoidance | Estonia | United Kingdom | multinationals | unemployment | Austria | Cyprus | Greece | Poland | Spain | European Union (EU) | Europe | Tax | Tax Evasion

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