Corporate tax evasion staggering – Cameron
UK Prime Minister David Cameron wants companies to disclose full details of their ownership in an effort to clamp down on tax evasion and tax avoidance
In a letter to the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Mr Cameron said the loss of revenue resulting from tax evasion and aggressive avoidance was staggering in a period of belt-tightening by governments.
It follows a joint letter by Finance Minister Michael Noonan and tax commissioner Algirdas Semeta to European finance ministers stating more must be done to tackle the problem.
Mr Cameron said there was a timely opportunity for the G8, which meets in Fermanagh in June, and EU to inject the political will required to raise international efforts to deal with the problem.
"We must break through the walls of corporate secrecy," Mr Cameron said.
"A lack of knowledge about who ultimately controls, owns and profits from companies leads to aggressive tax avoidance, tax evasion and money laundering, undermining tax bases and fuelling corruption across the world.
"Therefore, the G8 and EU must work together to ensure full transparency in beneficial ownership."
An EU Summit on tax evasion next month will be followed by the G8 meeting under the British chairmanship to be held in Fermanagh in June.
Mr Cameron said current global tax rules do not reflect the current modern and globalised economy.
"The UK will, with the rest of the G8, seek to provide high-level political support to the ongoing efforts in the OECD and G20 to identify problems and gaps in these existing rules," Mr Cameron said.
The European Commission said the hope and expectation is that countries will "seize this opportunity to take concrete decisions which could significantly improve our common stance against tax evaders and avoiders".
The joint letter by Mr Noonan and Commissioner Semeta identified seven areas where action can be delivered.
"Both the Presidency and the commission are asking all member states to agree these seven key actions without delay," the letter states.
"Concrete action at EU level would send a strong signal of our collective intent, which is essential in tackling trans-national tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning."