ETUC resolution on tackling tax evasion, avoidance and tax havens – 10-11 March 2015

There has been a very substantial growth in tax avoidance, which together with tax evasion constitute a massive loss in taxes estimated at 1 trillion euros a year in the EU. This has been facilitated by globalisation, financialisation, the digital economy, the growth in trade and the rise in capital’s share of national income and lack of political will to address the tax gap. Whilst capital is global, rules on taxation remain national. Evasion and avoidance is flourishing because of the lack of information on capital flows and ownership of assets internationally, the non-existence of automatic exchange of taxation data between administrations, and because national governments are more focused on tax competition than cooperation, and more on administration than investigation. Since the start of the financial crisis in 2008, many EU governments have, instead of investing in tax administrations, done the opposite by reducing human and material resources that are necessary to tackle tax dodging. The austerity programmes in particular, have had counter-productive effects. The rewards of concerted international action on evasion and avoidance will be increased economic growth, employment, fairness and tax revenue, if pursued with vigour. Increased tax revenue is crucial to fund public services, which in some countries have deteriorated dramatically, finance social security, and for combatting poverty.