We have to gear up in the fight against tax crime, says Udo Bullmann as new S&D study reveals €825 billion tax gap

A study commissioned by the S&D Group reveals that tax evasion deprives European taxpayers of €825 billion every year. While this represents a slight decrease compared to the estimate published in 2012 and suggests that the fight against tax crime is paying off, the number is still alarmingly high.

Together with the presentation of the study, the S&D Group launches a 5-point plan to fight tax crime. S&D Group leader Udo Bullmann said:
 
“Our study shows that tax evasion is a serious crime depriving Europeans of enormous amounts of money every year: 825,000,000,000 is a breathtaking number, roughly five times this year’s EU budget or €1,650 for every EU citizen. In times of tight budgets, the high-priests of austerity want to make us believe that only deep cuts in public expenditure will save the day – regardless of its impact on the lives of ordinary people. With our new figures, though, we deliver evidence of how the proper enforcement of tax rules represent the smarter and much fairer way to balance public budgets. 
 
“Our new figures show that we have to gear up in the fight against tax evasion. The tax gap has been brought down by 11.8%, or roughly 100 billion Euros once inflation is taken into account – which proves that action against tax fraud pays off. Yet, the magnitude of the remaining tax gap is illustrates that a lot more needs to be done. We still have a lot of work ahead of us. 
 
“Today, European Socialists and Democrats put forward a 5-point plan to further close the tax gap and we call on the next Commission to implement it. We propose a minimum effective taxation of corporations of 18% to limit the negative effects of tax base competition. Conducting tax gap estimates in all member states will provide a clearer understanding of the size of the problem. Repealing dodgy tax schemes by setting EU rules is an absolute priority. We must abolish the anachronistic national veto in taxation matters as it allows member states to block moves for fairer taxation out of narrow self-interest. Also, sharpening the criteria for EU tax havens will ensure that no one slips through the net. The fight for tax justice is at the core of our progressive vision of a sustainable and fairer society.”