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Europe wants big firms to reveal national tax bills
Aggregated Source: Shanghai Daily: Business

EUROPE'S top regulatory official is seeking to force large companies to say how much tax they pay in each country where they operate, a step some politicians say could curb tax avoidance.

Michel Barnier, the European commissioner in charge of drafting business rules, said in Amsterdam yesterday that rules which will force banks to report their profits, taxes and subsidies by country from 2015 should also cover other firms.

"We will expand these reporting obligations to large companies and groups," he said.

Corporate tax avoidance has become a big international political issue over the last year and was given new impetus this week by a US Senate report into Apple Inc.

The report said Apple paid little or no tax on tens of billions of dollars in profits channeled through Irish subsidiaries that were tax resident in no country.

The extent to which Apple had avoided taxes had not been made public because companies do not have to report revenues, profits or taxes on a national basis.

Tax campaigners, who have been emboldened by public anger at media reports of widespread corporate tax avoidance at a time of austerity, say naming and shaming low taxpayers will deter avoidance.

Big business is strongly opposed to country-by-country reporting which companies say would impose unreasonable administrative burdens.

It could be made law by simply amending the existing proposal on non-financial reporting, one European Union official said.

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