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STOP tax dodging and STOP dithering!

20 June 2014 | by Jenny Brown 

To make sure tax dodgers have nowhere to hide we need information about who really owns and benefits from anonymous companies and trusts across Europe, not just the UK.

This secrecy of ownership means huge sums of money - often the proceeds of corruption, tax dodging and drug trafficking - are hidden in anonymous shell companies and trusts that nobody can trace.

What we have achieved so far

We have been campaigning on beneficial ownership since last autumn. Our supporters have emailed Vince Cable, lobbied MPs, written to MEPs and submitted into consultations. And with great success - only a few weeks ago this issue was highlighted in the Queen’s speech.

Across Europe pressure is building as more and more people realise how important transparency about tax is, but many European governments are still reluctant to do anything about it.

In March this year, MEPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of public registers of the real owners of companies. These registers would make it much harder to hide illicit money, and much easier to work out who should be paying tax on what.

The benefit for developing countries (as well as rich ones) would be massive. But the governments of all 28 EU members are yet to agree.

What we can do next?

On 20 June Finance Ministers from all the EU’s member states are meeting in Luxembourg.

The EU must stop dithering and finally agree to create public registers in Europe to help stop tax dodging and give developing countries the chance to lift themselves out of poverty.

The UK Government is already planning to set up public registers for UK companies.  George Osborne needs to show leadership at this meeting to convince other EU governments to do the same.

Tweet the chancellor

Tweet George Osborne along the lines of: @George_Osborne please lead the #EU to create public registries of beneficial owners of companies, trusts and foundations #stoptaxdodging

EU flag This campaign has been part-funded by the EU. The contents of this web page are the sole responsibility of Christian Aid and other member organisations of the STOP tax dodging campaign and do not reflect the views of the EU.

  About the author

 Jenny Brown

Jenny Brown is Christian Aid's Senior EU Relations Adviser.

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