Protesters have been organising against the G8 summit which is being hosted in Northern Ireland on Monday and Tuesday. In London, one week ahead, demonstrators demanded that the VIPs from the world’s most industrialised countries hold their meetings openly, “… because they are making decisions that effect our lives.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron has been talking about tougher rules on tax evasion and avoidance. Detractors say that is hypocritical in the extreme, given that Britain’s own tax havens are world leaders – with overseas territories and offshore trusts.
Global tax evasion could be costing more than 2.3 trillion euros per year according to researchers from Tax Justice Network while as much as 24 trillion euros could be hidden by individuals in tax havens.
European Union countries, according to Brussels, fail to take in one trillion euros each year from people who don’t pay their taxes. This is while the population that obeys the rules is subjected to austerity policies.
Cameron issued a determined message last month, going in to a summit of the soon to be 28 EU member states.
He said: “We’ve got to make sure as we set those tax rates that companies pay taxes and that means international collaboration, sharing of tax information. I am making that the headlines of my G8 summit in a month time and it is important that we make sure that the European Union [does] as well.”
The leaders are said to be considering strategies of fiscal optimisation to focus on multinationals that pay minimal levels of taxes to the same countries in which they reap vast profits.
Germany’ Angela Merkel, at the end of that summit in Brussels said: “We will work towards ensuring that companies pay more where they are based. To achieve that, they must also join the fight against tax havens.”
Worldwide operators such as Starbucks, Apple, Google and Amazon have made headlines in the past few months for having navigated ways to considerably reduce what they pay the tax man in both the US and Europe – without even breaking the law.