EU Seeks Country-by-Country Tax Disclosure for Large Companies

The European Union will seek to make large companies disclose the taxes they pay and profits they make on a country-by-country basis as it seeks to crack down on firms evading their obligations.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s financial services chief, will seek to put the transparency rules in place “as quickly as possible,” Chantal Hughes, his spokeswoman, said in Brussels today. The measures would also cover subsidies that companies receive, she said.

“It’s the equivalent of what we already do for banks,” Hughes said. “The idea is therefore to expand that to all large companies operating in the European Union.”

Barnier’s push comes amid international controversy on whether companies like Apple Inc. and Google Inc. are taking excessive advantage of cross-border tax loopholes. EU leaders vowed this week to investigate “aggressive” tax planning, and pledged support for tougher corporate transparency rules.

The EU has already taken some steps toward introducing such country-by-country reporting requirements.

European Parliament lawmakers insisted earlier this year that draft bank capital rules be expanded to include transparency on taxes, profits and subsidies. The EU has also agreed on similar rules for gas, oil and mining companies.

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