After six months of examining tax optimisation practices in Europe, the European Parliament's Special Committee on Tax Rulings (TAXE committee) presented its report to MEPs at the Strasbourg plenary this week.
The adoption of the report's conclusions by a large majority marks an important political victory for the institution, which fought hard to set up the special committee in the wake of the Luxleaks scandal. This victory is especially impressive given the committee’s limited powers, on top of the fact that it was held back to a large extent by a lack of cooperation from member states.
Alain Lamassoure, a French Republican MEP (EPP group) and the president of the special committee, said, "The creation of the TAXE committee was a response to the political scandal of Luxleaks, and a change of mind-set is beginning to spread." The Portuguese rapporteur, Elisa Ferreira (Partido Socialista), added that "the report presented marks a change in the rules of the game".
This statement proved prophetic, as on the same day, Switzerland announced its adoption of the system to automatically exchange tax information with the European Union, a step that should lift the veil of secrecy from the country's banking sector as soon as it is implemented.
Related press release: Decision on Special Committee on Tax Rulings II, "The Sequel", approved