Tax havens. What comes to your mind when you hear about them? Sunny beaches, palm trees, yachts, and so on? And do you realise that we have our own, European tax havens, right here in the centre of the EU. They allow large corporations to avoid paying taxes in the countries where they generate their income – such as Poland or Germany.
This means that the idea of European solidary has gotten lost somewhere. Some countries (6 to be precise), not to mention large corporations, receive revenues at the expense of others. 170 000 000 000 euro per year – that’s the total loss other EU countries suffer due to tax evasion when large businesses and wealthy citizens locate their assets in tax havens. The sum also includes all VAT frauds.
Tax havens were the main point of focus of our recent information and educational campaign, #TaxSolidarity. It was created on the basis of the Tax unfairness in the European Union: Towards greater solidarity in fighting tax evasion report produced by the Polish Economic Institute. The campaign coincidentally took place at the same time as the World Economic Forum in Davos during which the Polish delegation touched upon the subject of tax evasion, tax havens, and lack of European solidarity regarding the matter.
A website was created (www.taxsolidarity.eu) and translated into three languages. It offers tons of reliable information, facts and numbers presented in a user-friendly way, all complimented with an animation explaining the complicated mechanism behind tax havens. The website also contains podcasts with politicians, economists, entrepreneurs, and regular EU citizens.
But that’s not all. We also created a short film which in simple, straightforward and slightly scandalizing manner is telling the honest truth about the tax havens and their destructive influence on the European economy. Davor-related Tweets and press advertisement in the most prominent European papers has helped us to share it with the wider audience.
We know that the campaign proved to be a success. The problem of tax-havens and lack of European solidarity around it was noticed by the biggest players. We also know that it finally became a topic amongst European Authorities. What’s even more important is that Poland is now considered to be an important and active partner that has the wellbeing of the EU at heart. The initiator of future changes.