We should seek EU-wide tax rules on multinationals


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The Independent Online

Outlook Four years after failing to secure common company tax rules across its member states, the EU is set to have another go.

Today we will likely see the emergence of plans for what has become known as – now bear with me – a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB).

That’s not a cure for insomnia. Rather, it’s an attempt to impose EU-wide rules on how multinationals pay tax and limit their ability to indulge in cynical, but legal, practices such as aggressive tax planning. This can include artificially shifting profits to countries where rates are lowest.

Many saw the EU’s first crack as an attempt to impose uniform rates by the back door. That is the sort of thing that gets Eurosceptics foaming at the mouth, let alone the union’s coterie of onshore tax havens.

But you would hope that minds would have been concentrated by the revelations about the way multinationals have gamed the system.

Action on this front would be to the benefit of nearly all member states, particularly if it leads to multinationals paying their share.

If the EU can’t ensure that happens within its borders, even its supporters might have cause to question what the point of it actually is.