Deutsches Aktieninstitut firmly rejects the introduction of a public country-by-country reporting at EU level. The disclosure of sensitive company data puts German companies at a disadvantage in international competition.
"The proposal to oblige companies to report tax-relevant company data to the public will put the German economy at a considerable competitive disadvantage on world markets," criticises Dr. Christine Bortenlänger, Executive Member of the Board of Deutsches Aktieninstitut. "The fact that the Federal Minister of Finance now wants to revive the debate on public country-specific reporting is a matter of great concern to us.
In a tweet, Federal Finance Minister Scholz spoke out in favour of a German approach to country-specific reporting (public country-by-country reporting) at the European level. Together with the other SPD federal ministers, Scholz wants to work within the federal government for public country-by-country reporting at EU level. His initiative would mean that German companies would have to make sensitive country-specific information available to the public. This would mean a departure from the principle of tax secrecy in Germany.
As early as 2016, the EU Commission had proposed that large multinational companies in Europe should be obliged to disclose country-specific information about the business units operating in the respective country in detail for everyone. The idea of public country-by-country reporting failed because the regulation would have led to considerable distortions of competition for the European economy. Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz also publicly opposed this proposal in 2018.
Then as now, international competitors of European companies could draw conclusions about the margins and business policy of European competitors from the public reports. Public country-by-country reporting would thus have extremely negative effects on companies and jobs in Europe.
"Instead of national or European solo attempts, we need an internationally coordinated approach so that there is ultimately no threat of a one-sided burden on European companies," emphasises Bortenlänger. "A coordinated approach by the international community at OECD level is therefore essential. The proposal for country-by-country reporting to the tax authorities already adopted there takes into account the legitimate need of companies for the protection of their data as well as the interest of the international community in transparency of the tax bases in an efficient manner. There is no need for public country-by-country reporting".