Paying a fair share: for a fair corporate tax system in the EU

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A compulsory Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) for all companies – both transnational and at a later stage also national –, taxing profits where they are generated, and sanctions for companies operating in tax havens: these are among the measures advocated by the European Economic and Social Committee to stop aggressive tax planning in the EU. Aggressive tax planning schemes, which exploit the wide discrepancies between EU Member States' taxation systems, allow big transnational companies to avoid paying their fair share to the Member States in which they operate and cost Member States' treasuries hundreds of billions of euros in losses every year.

The EESC has repeatedly called for a common corporate tax base in the EU (in 2006 and 2008) and welcomes the upcoming CCCTB directive proposed by the European Commission. It recommends carrying out an ex-post impact assessment of the new rules to see if tax shifting to low-tax Member States is still going on. If so, targeted measures should be adopted to discourage companies from "tax shopping" from the lowest bidder.

The EESC proposes better regulation of the concept of "permanent establishment" in order to close the loopholes that enable companies not to have a "taxable presence" and thereby not to pay tax on the profits resulting from an activity carried out within a Member State. To that end, the EESC would recommend adopting the measures set out in the OECD's Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting.