EU: Explain your tax affairs. Google, Amazon, Facebook: Mmm... nah

Toothless Eurocrats wail and gnash gums over big biz invite snub

Amazon, Facebook and Google are among those who have been invited to a pow-wow with MEPs over their tax practices – but not all plan to show up.

MEPs said on Tuesday that it's regrettable that the multinationals “seem unable to find time to discuss their tax practices in public before the European Parliament’s Tax Rulings Committee, despite its best efforts to accommodate them.”

The Tax Rulings Committee was formed in the wake of the “Luxleaks” scandal, which exposed the scale of tax avoidance schemes carried out by big biz.

Google bigwig Eric Schmidt declined to show up before any meeting, but said Google was happy to send its “position on the tax issues”. Xavier Garambois, general director of Amazon Europe, also sent his apologies “due to the ongoing investigation” by the European Commission.

Christopher Corson North from Amazon UK and Facebook’s Marc Zuckerberg have yet to formally reply to invites for 23 June or 2 July.

“If they stick to their refusal, it will come across as if they have more to lose than to win by being transparent about the way they fulfil their legal obligations in Europe,” warned committee chairman Alain Lamassoure.

Co-rapporteur Michael Theurer went even further, saying the absenteeism was “absolutely unacceptable”.

What can the committee can do about this? Nothing, as it has no powers to compel individuals to attend. ®

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