UPDATE 1-Let's not overreact to Panama Papers, many EU finmins warn

sábado 23 de abril de 2016 10:03 GYT

(Adds quotes after final Ecofin news conferences)

By Francesco Guarascio

AMSTERDAM, April 23 (Reuters) - A European Commission plan to publicly reveal tax and financial data of large companies raised concerns among many European Union finance ministers who on Saturday advised caution after the Panama Paper leaks.

Under pressure after the revelations about offshore firms hiding wealth, the EU executive proposed on April 12 a plan to increase tax transparency of multinational companies, including public disclosure of their activities in tax havens.

Companies have warned of reputation risks, as some data may be misinterpreted if made publicly available. Non-EU firms could also acquire valuable information on their EU competitors, damaging their competitiveness, trade associations said.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble questioned the effectiveness of the Commission's plan at the end of a two-day finance ministers meeting in Amsterdam and indicated German federal states opposed public disclosure of companies' tax data.

"Many people and entities are more willing to share information when they do not have to fear the effect of a public pillory," he said, backing disclosure only to tax authorities.

"We should not overreact," his Maltese counterpart Edward Scicluna said, warning against the competitive risks for EU companies if overly strict transparency regulations were adopted

"We would prefer that as a first step, (corporate tax data) should be available to tax authorities, not to the public."   Continuación...