This week, EU finance ministers struck a deal to exchange information on tax rulings between member states but, curiously, given that it is trumpeted by the Commission as a “transparency” reform, none of this information will be in the public domain.
The same spirit guides the OECD’s much vaunted initiative to curb profit-shifting by multinationals that was agreed on Monday – financial information is to be shared between tax authorities in rich countries and no further.
There seems to be a broad consensus emerging that, when it comes to the tax affairs of multinationals, it is best to “keep the general public out”.
Indeed, that was the plea from an eminent professor of tax law at a recent event. If information about tax payments was more widely known, his reasoning went, there would be huge pressure on politicians and administrators to rescind some of these agreements, and there would be little discretion for negotiations with other countries on technical matters such as transfer pricing rules.
Source: EU Obeserver