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Taxes

EU pushes for crackdown on tax evasion

The European Union executive Commission has unveiled details of a plan to curb massive tax evasion and avoidance. The plan urges EU members to crack down on tax havens and close legal loopholes.

According to an estimate released by the EU Commission on Thursday, tax dodgers incur revenue losses of around 1 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) every year in the 27-nation EU.

"Not only is this a scandalous loss of much-needed revenue, it is also a threat to fair taxation," said EU Commissioner for Taxation, Algirdas Semeta, as he unveiled EU plans to curb tax evasion on Thursday.

Noting that a strong and cohesive EU stance on tax dodgers was needed, Semeta recommended measures on the most pressing problems that could be immediately taken by EU member states.

Under the plan, the EU Commissions urges countries to "blacklist" so-called tax safe havens - states which aid and abet tax evasion - and "persuade" them to adopt EU taxation standards.

In a second recommendation, titled Aggressive Tax Planning, the EU executive calls for national efforts to close legal loopholes in taxation laws that allow especially international corporations to avoid paying taxes.

In addition, so-called double taxation agreements between individual countries should be reinforced to prevent tax avoidance, the EU Commission suggested.

Other initiatives included in the action plan are a Taxpayer's Code, an EU Tax identification Number, and common guidelines to trace cross-border money flows.

In order to ensure action on the plan, EU Commissioner Algirdas Semeta announced he would set up new monitoring tools and scoreboards tracking member states progress in fighting tax evasion.

However, before the action plan can be implemented, it has to be adopted by EU Finance Ministers and the European Parliament.

uhe/dr (dpa, dapd, AFP)

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