The battle between the world's leading multinationals and national governments looking for tax revenue has heated up over the past week following the row surrounding Google's bill in the U.K. and a pan-European push to combat corporate tax avoidance.
The new European Union proposals announced Thursday include legally binding measures to block the most common methods used by companies to avoid paying tax and help circulate tax information on multinationals among countries. They come at a time when U.S. multinationals, including Apple, Amazon, Starbucks and Google, are facing a renewed storm of criticism for their tax practices in Europe.
"Billions of tax euros are lost every year to tax avoidance — money that could be used for public services like schools and hospitals or to boost jobs and growth. Europeans and businesses that play fair end up paying higher taxes as a result. This is unacceptable and we are acting to tackle it," Pierre Moscovici, a European Commissioner and former French finance minister, said in a written statement on the new measures on Thursday.