EU Firms Prefer Tax Guidance to Dodging Room, Poll Says

A majority of euro-area companies would prefer to have more guidance from government authorities on how to comply with tax rules, even if it reduces their scope to avoid cross-border payments, according to a study from London-based Grant Thornton International Ltd.

About 75 percent of firms within the 17-nation currency bloc would welcome more information on what is and isn’t acceptable tax planning, as would 68 percent worldwide and 54 percent in North America, according to the study, based on a quarterly survey of 3,000 businesses in 44 countries. The survey’s release today coincides with a summit in Brussels, where EU leaders will discuss how to regulate “aggressive” tax strategies and other anti-tax-evasion issues.

“In the U.K., recent high-profile cases involving Amazon, Google and Starbucks have certainly sharpened public opinion as to what is acceptable tax planning,” Francesca Lagerberg, incoming global tax leader at accounting and advisory firm Grant Thornton, said in a statement. “It seems the majority of business leaders would also welcome more transparency.”

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