This week there was news of a serious situation, which nevertheless received little echo from public opinion. According to what was reported by the consortium of journalists Investigate Europe, the Portuguese government is one of those facing the accusation of having blocked, in the Council of the European Union, a deliberation related to the law against tax evasion by large digital multinational companies. Also according to the same news, only the pressure exerted to investigate the causes of this blocking attitude will have led Minister Siza Vieira to inflect the sense of vote, and to express his desire now to ensure the proper application of the legislative initiative of scope Supervisor.
In fact, this is a legal diploma that the countries of the European Union have been negotiating in order to make financial transactions more transparent and reduce tax evasion by multinational companies. The community directive, known as CbCR (Country by Country Reporting), aims to compel large technology groups - such as Google, Facebook, Amazon or Apple - to reveal their tax planning mechanisms for each country where they operate. These and other companies currently record their profits in countries like Ireland, where tax rates are particularly low, despite generating most of the turnover in other countries.
According to the newspaper “Público”, citing data from the responsibility of a team led by economist Gabriel Zucman of the University of Berkeley, about 40% of all company profits worldwide are transferred to these countries, where they practice dumping tax, and the European Commission's (EC) estimates are that this will have a negative impact on EU public coffers of up to € 70 billion per year, which is equivalent to almost half of the EU's annual budget for payments / expenses .
In addition to this situation, there is yet another one, related to the lack of transparency and fiscal practices. In fact, last May the “Jornal Económico” had already reported that the EC had granted Portugal and Luxembourg four months (until September therefore) for the proper transposition of EU legislation against tax evasion, considering that “the national legislation adopted is inadequate with regard to the interest limit rule ”.
In common, these two situations put Portugal in a very little understandable way in alignment with the position of the countries designated as 'tax havens', at a time when several scandals have been revealed related to financial operations associated with the escape from the tax authorities.
On the verge of assuming the rotating presidency of the Union on January 1, our country should not and cannot - under penalty of seeing its reputation damaged - be associated with something other than transparency and good practices of fiscal equity. Incredible as it may seem, at least 10,4% of world GDP is “swallowed” by the system built and based on offshores. Once and for all, this is a situation that needs to be tackled and Portugal has to give clear signs that it is on the right side of the barricade.
At a time when we all fear the specter of a new period of confinement, it is never too much to remember the Herculean effort that has been being developed by health professionals; doctors, nurses and hospital assistants. The pressure they are subjected to, not only at the physical level but also at the mental level, is something that we must always take into account, with due recognition and the most genuine thanks.
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