On 8 February, the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents voted to launch another inquiry into financial crime, tax evasion and tax avoidance. This follows the investigations of the TAXE 1 and 2 committees, which were founded to examine the consequences of the “LuxLeaks” papers in 2014, and the PANA committee which was set up in 2016 following the release of the Panama Papers.
The TAXE 3 committee will have mandate of one year, extending to the end of the current parliamentary term. The main focus of the committee is likely to be the recent Paradise Papers leaks, which consisted of data leaked from the offshore law firm Appleby.
The terms of reference adopted by the Parliament make specific reference to the attention it intends to give to the UK’s “crown dependencies and overseas territories”. The TAXE 3 committee is also likely to examine “national schemes providing tax privileges for new residents or foreign income”. The committee also intends to focus on cases of VAT fraud and problems of ensuring tax compliance in the digital economy.
The inquiry will now need to be formally approved by a plenary vote of the parliament.