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BASF in firing line for legal, but immoral tax deals

German chemicals giant BASF has applied aggressive tax strategies to avoid paying hundreds of millions of euros in taxes, a fresh report has said. The company resorted to a variety of instruments to get its way.

A study commissioned by the Green Party in the European Parliament accused Germany's BASF of dubious strategies to avoid taxes to the tune of $1.09 billion (923 billion euros) over five years.

The survey released Monday and called "Toxic Tax Deals" stated that between 2010 and 2014, BASF used Dutch holding companies to avoid German income tax, exploited Belgian tax benefits, shifted profits to low-tax jurisdiction in Puerto Rico and Switzerland and benefited from a special Maltese tax refund scheme.

"Maltatoday.com" wrote Monday BASF registered a "German" company in Malta (BASF Finance Malta GmbH). It added the company had been eligible for Malta's preferential tax regime, meaning that profits were taxed at 35 percent, but were then eligible for an up to 85-percent refund when the net profits were paid out to foreign shareholders.

What's the fuss about?

"The true scandal is that most of the schemes used by BASF are legal and a consequence of fierce tax competition among EU member states," Oxfam's Aurore Chardonnet said in a statement.

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Sven Giegold of the Greens said these kinds of legal, but completely immoral tax deals had become a global phenomenon.

"Tax dumping is not an American, but a global problem that normal taxpayers above all pay the price for," he argued.

The European Union is seeking to crack down on the frowned-upon practice of corporate tax avoidance in which multinational companies use national loopholes to lower their tax bill. It's thought to deprive the bloc of up to 70 billion euros in revenues annually.

hg/sri (dpa, maltatoday.com)

 

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