CESI and UFE joint position on the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion

15 May 2013

The Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI) and the Union of Finance Personnel in Europe (UFE) have recently established a joint position on the European Commission’s Action Plan ‘to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion’.

CESI and UFE joint position on the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion

In times of economic crisis, it is more important than ever for governments to secure stable revenue. An effective tax administration can significantly contribute to increasing a country’s revenue by clamping down on tax fraud and tax evasion. This will ensure citizens and workers are partially relieved by the economic burden which is currently weighing unfairly on their shoulders.

The joint position was reached following strong cooperation which began in February 2013. Together CESI and UFE represent several hundred thousand employees in this sector, making this a position which is founded both on highly-valued expertise and widespread support among workers in the field of taxation.

CESI and UFE first and foremost find the Commission’s Action Plan to be weak and lacking in conviction. The Commission should be introducing concrete measures which are taken immediately, giving vigor to the fight against tax evasion and fiscal fraud.

To achieve this, CESI and UFE have jointly set out clear and comprehensive recommendations for the EU institutions and all relevant stakeholders to take on board when transforming this action plan into legislative proposals.

Firstly, a process which simplifies the legislation as well as the administrative procedures is crucial.  Without this, there can be no guarantee of an improved service to users nor can we be assured of a better system of tax collection.  In talking about administrative simplification, this does not mean job losses; the hard work of a tax official, for example, could never be replaced by the introduction of a simple taxpayers’ code.

Secondly, VAT fraud should be an absolute priority for the Commission, using Eurofisc (the multilateral and decentralised data collection network) in its fight against this.

Fighting against harmful business practices in the realm of tax policy, such as in aggressive tax planning, is considered equally important.

With regard to the proposal for an EU Tax Identification Number (TIN), CESI and UFE are in favour of such a proposal only if it is able to improve efficiency, and not add to the complications which already exist.

Finally, CESI and UFE welcome the timely launch of the Platform for Tax Good Governance, a forum to coordinate and develop the best possible defence against tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax havens. However, with a great deal of expertise to offer, there is a strong appeal for the inclusion of trade union representatives in these discussions.

The joint position appeals to all EU institutions and stakeholders who will be involved in the legislation that follows from this Action Plan to make full use of the experience and practices at their disposal through CESI and UFE. This will ensure a far better success rate when it comes to implementing the legislation in Member States.

The joint position can be read in full in English, French and German.

The Union of Finance Personnel in Europe (UFE) represents the interests of employees from all ranks of tax and customs administration authorities in Europe, bringing together more than 400,000 members from 40 member unions in 20 different countries.