Letter calling on governments to act on tax havens

Posted November 14, 2017

Below is the text of a letter sent to The Guardian that I was happy to sign, with MEP and MP colleagues, calling on governments to take action against tax havens:

Dear Sirs,

We, the undersigned parliamentarians, are deeply concerned by recent revelations from the 'Paradise Papers' investigation.

We regret that some governments, not least the British government, have failed to learn the lessons from the previous 'LuxLeaks' and 'Panama Papers' scandals. In particular, we are concerned that insufficient progress has been made to ensure that investment vehicles like trusts are sufficiently transparent. We are also concerned that tax havens, like those involved in the Paradise Papers, have been able to continue with highly opaque company and trust registration models. It has also been disappointing to see some countries try to block measures against tax havens like the EU's blacklist of tax havens.

We call together for all governments to place renewed emphasis on tax transparency and fully implement Public Country-by-Country Reporting. In particular, we call for information on trusts to be made publicly available, and for all tax havens to be forced to automatically share information with international tax authorities. We also call for stronger regulation of intermediaries, including penalties for those proven to be involved in tax evasion, aggressive tax avoidance or money laundering.

Failure to act against aggressive tax avoidance and evasion is depriving public services of desperately-needed funding. It also enables some multinational companies to unfairly undercut many small and medium-sized businesses. The Paradise Papers must act as a wake-up call to deal with industrial-scale tax dodging, once and for all.

Anneliese Dodds MP, United Kingdom
Paul Tang MEP, Netherlands
Evelyn Regner MEP, Austria
Jeppe Kofod MEP, Denmark
John Howarth MEP, United Kingdom
Segio Cofferati MEP, Italy
Hugues Bayet MEP, Belgium
Pervenche Berès MEP, France
Ana Gomes MEP, Portugal
Neena Gill MEP, United Kingdom
Jakob von Weizsäcker MEP, Germany
Udo Bullmann MEP, Germany
Roberto Gualtieri MEP, Italy
Peter Simon MEP, Germany
Dietmar Köster MEP, Germany
Virginie Rozière MEP, France
Ramón Jáuregui Atondo MEP, Spain
Nessa Childers MEP, Ireland
Péter Niedermüller MEP, Hungary
Elly Schlein MEP, Italy

I have also co-signed a similar letter drawn up by former the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.