Once upon a time there was a liberal vision for Europe. A free trade zone, with free movement of goods, services, people and capital, a single currency (fixed exchange rates), and fiscal competition between jurisdictions. Besides public pressure to limit the free movement of people within the European Union because of the immigration crisis, a trend has been developing over the past few years toward ‘uniform’ corporate tax rates. Taxes have to be equal across the European Union. A big danger, because this will give governments a greater ability to raise taxes. And the Panama Papers — 11.5 million confidential documents involving 214,000 offshore entities that became public through a leak at the Panamese company Mossack Fonseca — will intensify this trend.

What Is Wrong with High Taxes?

Competition between Fiscal Regimes

Low (Corporate) Taxes Cause Economic Growth

The Case of Philips

Fiscal Appeal of the Netherlands

Tax Avoidance versus Tax Evasion

The More Countries Are “Excluded,” the Less Fiscal Competition


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