Big companies in some European Union member states are failing to pay their statutory taxes, according to the findings of a report presented in Brussels by the Green party in the European Parliament on January 22.
The party’s finance spokesman Sven Giegold called for more transparency about the tax practices of multinational companies.
“The European Commission has presented a good proposal for tax transparency by large corporations,” Giegold said. “[German] Finance Minister Olaf Scholz must now give up on his blockade and advocate country-specific tax transparency.”
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, using the Orbis database with information from 2011 to 2015, the report was compiled by tax expert Petr Jansky of Charles University in Prague for the Greens.
The results showed huge differentials between the statutory tax obligations and the actual amounts paid, according to German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on January 22.
According to the report, Luxembourg stood out in the study, where the official tax rate is 29%, but corporations paid only 2% on average.
Hungary, the Netherlands and Austria were also highlighted as states where actual taxes paid were significantly lower than the official rates.
Germany was just above average, with a tax rate of 30% but an average of 20% paid by major corporations.
In Greece and Ireland, it appeared corporations were paying more than their dues: Greece has a tax rate of 24% with corporations paying an average of 28%, and in Ireland, with a tax rate of 13%, corporations were paying 16% according to the study.
Speaking ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the leader of the Greens in the German parliament, Anton Hofreiter, called on corporations to “take more responsibility for solving social and environmental problems”.
“Those who think only of the short-term maximization of profit in times of rising populism and burning ecological crises are sawing off the branch on which they are sitting,” Hofreiter told the Agence France-Presse (AFP).