“There is an opinion that nothing can be done against tax avoidance, evasion and competition, but this opinion is incorrect,” says economist Gabriel Zucman . According to the new EU Tax Observatory that he runs, a research laboratory aimed at combating abusive tax practices backed by the European Parliament and the European Commission, the 27 could raise an additional 50 billion euros if multinationals paid a minimum rate of the 15% corporate tax , the threshold proposed by the United States in open negotiations within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
If the agreed tax were 21%, the extra income would be 100,000 million and 170,000 million more – 12% of total EU spending on health – if the minimum rate were 25%. Depending on the rate established, Spain would also see its collection increase: between 12,400 million with a rate of 25% -5,400 million with a rate of 21% – and 700 million if the threshold is set at 15%.
Taking into account that the average rate is around 22 or 23%, setting a minimum of seven points below is, in Zucman’s opinion, insufficient. “It is not enough to restore balance and ensure that the winners of globalization, instead of paying less and less, pay more taxes, which in the end is the only way for globalization to be sustainable,” he pointed out this Tuesday at the launch. of the new laboratory at the headquarters of the European Commission.
Still, he considers that “if there were an agreement on a minimum tax it would be extremely important, whatever the rate, because it would be the first time that we have an agreement on rates. Even if it were 15%, which for me is too low, it could pave the way to higher rates in the future, “says Zucman on an issue that will be on the table of the meeting of finance ministers of the G7 this next 4 and June 5 in London.
Negotiations in the OECD
Currently, multinationals are free to choose the country in which they want to pay taxes, which means that within the EU they privilege jurisdictions with very low rates such as Ireland, the Netherlands or Luxembourg or other international jurisdictions.
Discussions in the OECD, which aims to close an agreement among its almost 140 countries in the autumn, focus on establishing a global minimum tax on the profits of large companies and modulating it according to the profits they make in each country, regardless where they are headquartered.
“We fully support the new impetus that the new US administration has given to the debate because we were blocked in the previous discussion. Now the discussion about the field, the numbers and the size of the companies is positively underway.
The principle of profit relocation is there. It is too early to see a conclusion (but) I hope it will be soon “, said the commissioner for economic affairs, Paolo Gentiloni , during the presentation of the Observatory that will carry out investigations and proposals to combat tax evasion and avoidance and promote an” inclusive and plural debate ”On tax policies in the EU. The debate on taxation will conclude with a symposium in 2022 on the EU’s tax structure for 2050.