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Tax avoidance and evasion pose a threat to social justice

The PACE Committee on Social Affairs said it was very much concerned by the scope of tax avoidance and evasion, as illustrated by the recent “Panama Papers” scandal, which exposed how shadow companies and secret accounts are used by many to hide taxable income and assets in tax havens”. “Citizens no longer wish to tolerate legal systems which allow taxation to be easily avoided by major companies and very rich people as well as ill-gotten gains to be stashed away”, said the parliamentarians.

The report by Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC), which the Committee approved today, points out that, in the fight against tax avoidance and evasion, “the issue is not an absence of standards, but the lack of their effective implementation”.

The Committee therefore encouraged member states to step up efforts to meet international standards and to implement rules governing the exchange of financial account information.

 

According to the Committee, governments should encourage companies and individuals to keep their assets in their country of residence by providing stable national tax systems and limiting “red-tape” bureaucracy.

In order to combat money laundering the Committee recommends the establishment of effective and independent national financial intelligence units, free of any political interference, and the enhanced surveillance of the accounts – and transactions - of “Politically Exposed Persons” who have held important public positions in another country.