|Alain Lamassoure is a new entry this year|
The mandate of the European Parliament's Special Committee on Tax Rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect (TAXE) drew to a close in 2015. Before its term expired, though, a vote was taken to extend its mandate a further six months and Alain Lamassoure was re-elected as chairman.
The French member of the European Parliament (MEP) was elected to chair TAXE after it was created in early 2015 in the wake of the European Commission launching state aid investigations into tax rulings for multinational companies including Apple, Fiat Finance & Trade and Starbucks, in Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The committee is mandated to look into EU member states' tax rulings as far back as January 1 1991, as well as reviewing how the Commission treats existing state aid arrangements.
"We have an important mission," Lamassoure was quick to acknowledge. "We need results and we need them now."
On accepting the committee chairmanship, Lamassoure laid out the theme that infused TAXE's 2015 work to achieve greater transparency across the EU, saying:
"The task ahead of us is not related either to our political orientations or to the countries we represent. This is about transparency and justice. These are our shared concern and we have to work on them in the best possible spirit."
TAXE, under Lamassoure's leadership, published two reports during the year, calling for public country-by-country reporting, as well as pushing for further work on the common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB).
In November, the committee questioned 11 multinationals, including Amazon, Google, Barclays and Facebook, on their tax arrangements and on tax policy themes. The large number that accepted the invite highlighted the extent of political pressure on businesses in Europe over their tax practices, but also showed that those businesses felt they could engage with the committee on policy themes.
"I am satisfied that, this time, most of the multinational companies invited have decided to seize the opportunity to share their views with us on current developments in the corporate tax world," said Lamassoure at the time of the hearing.
With his re-election, the focus of TAXE II looks likely to follow on from TAXE I, in pushing for greater transparency and further investigating the tax rulings of European countries.