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BASF accused of avoiding taxes

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
EU lawmakers accuse BASF of avoiding almost 1 billion euros in taxes
The German chemicals giant BASF used aggressive tax strategies to avoid paying 923 million euros (1.03 billion dollars) in taxes over a five-year period, according to a study commissioned by the Green Party in the European Parliament, released Monday.
Brussels (dpa) - The European Union is seeking to crack down on the legal but frowned-upon practice of corporate tax avoidance, in which multinational firms use national loopholes to lower their tax bill. This is thought to deprive the bloc of up to 70 billion euros in revenues annually.
"BASF has built up a perfidious system to avoid taxes," MEP Sven Giegold (Greens) said in a statement. "Tax dumping is not an American, but a global problem that normal taxpayers above all pay the price for."

The issue hit the headlines in August, when the European Commission ordered Ireland to recoup up to 13 billion euros in unpaid taxes from Apple. Dublin and the US technology giant are fighting the decision.

The spotlight has fallen on several US companies, but EU lawmaker Sven Giegold of the Greens said the issue is more widespread.

"BASF has built up a perfidious system to avoid taxes," he said in a statement. "Tax dumping is not an American, but a global problem that normal taxpayers above all pay the price for."

According to the report, between 2010 and 2014 BASF used Dutch holding companies to avoid German income tax; exploited Belgian tax benefits; shifted profits to low-tax jurisdictions in Puerto Rico and Switzerland; and benefited from a Maltese tax refund, among other things.

"The true scandal is that most of the schemes used by BASF are legal, and a consequence of fierce tax competition between EU member states," said Aurore Chardonnet of the Oxfam anti-poverty campaign group.

The report comes ahead of discussions Tuesday among EU finance ministers on a proposed pan-European blacklist of tax havens. The list would only cover non-EU countries, however.


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