Thousands of big companies could soon be forced to divulge all their juicy secrets about profits and taxes around the world.
European officials have proposed new rules that would require large, multinational companies with a presence in the European Union to report how much money they make, and what tax they pay, in each European country they operate in.
In addition, the companies would also have to reveal details about their operations in tax havens, and provide a summary about how much tax they pay in other parts of the world. The new rules would apply to companies with global revenues of more than 750 million euros ($ 855 million).
The companies would be obliged to post this information on their public websites each year for all to see.
These groundbreaking rules — which could come into force in 2018 — are designed to bring more transparency to corporate accounting and pressure companies to avoid any dodgy financial behavior.
They’re part of a global effort to make companies pay tax where they make profits, rather than shifting them to lower tax jurisdictions.
If the rules are approved by EU leaders and lawmakers, you’ll soon be able to browse through detailed financial accounts from the likes of Google (Tech30), , Apple (Tech30), , Amazon (Tech30) and , Starbucks ( — companies that have )come under attack in Europe for using a range of loopholes to avoid paying taxes.
The European Commission, which announced the proposed rules on Tuesday, said over 6,000 multinational companies would be affected. It estimates that the EU — which is composed of 28 member countries — loses up to 70 billion euros ($ 80 billion) per year because of corporate tax avoidance.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has estimated that loopholes allow companies to dodge as much as $ 240 billion in tax per year.