Hearing FISC subcommittee on tax matters: contribution by Anna Gunn
On 28 March 2022, Anna will participate in a Hearing of the FISC subcommittee on tax matters of the European Parliament. The subcommittee, which is chaired by Euro-MP Paul Tang, will be exploring the issue of Aggressive Tax Schemes in the Netherlands and the remaining challenges in the fight against such schemes.
Anna and Thom have written a short statement before the Hearing.
All statements, biographies, slides and recording of livestream
“It is exciting to be asked to contribute to an important event such as this. Tax avoidance is still a major issue, and the European Parliament has been a great proponent for change. I will be focussing on some of the cultural aspects of ATS, including the changing attitudes within the Dutch tax sector. It is no secret that the Netherlands has in the past had a really bad reputation when it comes to international tax.
Just a few years ago, both the European Parliament and the Tax Justice Network (TJN) branded the Netherlands a tax haven. All sorts of measures have been introduced, but in truth, these reforms are far from complete. The subcommittee needs to know that the attitudes of Dutch tax professionals are nevertheless changing. A new generation is emerging, a generation of tax professionals that is more critical of tax avoidance and aware of the relevance of fiscal ethics. When discussing the remaining issues, we have to recognise that progress has been made.
But it is still not clear what all of this means in practice. What specifically is required from tax professionals? What does ethical tax planning look like? What are the societal expectations? It is too easy, indeed even harmful, to answer such questions with a self-righteous eye roll and advice along the lines of “just don’t be evil”. We need a much better public debate about fiscal ethics. New norms need to crystallise, but that requires a comprehensive debate that goes further than fiscal grandstanding. In this respect, the European Parliament could be a real force for good.”