EU warning to big business: The times are changing, so pay your tax

Big business has been told to shut up and cough up as they were warned they would have to pay their fair share of tax. They were given the blunt warning by European Union finance ministers who say the time has come to shelve tax-avoidance practices. “My message to those companies is you are fighting the wrong battle. You have to move on. Times are changing,” the head of the eurogroup and Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said ahead of a meeting of EU finance ministers in Bratislava. His remarks following a ruling against Apple, which has been ordered to pay €13bn to the Irish government after striking an illegal deal on tax.

You need to pay your taxes in a fair way. Part of that would be in the U.S., part of that would be in Europe. So get ready to do that

Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem spells it out for Apple

The European Commission has the tax dealings of several multinationals in its sights - including online retailer Amazon, hamburger group McDonald’s and coffee chain Starbucks. European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici plans to unveil proposals in the coming weeks on a common tax base for multinationals operating in the EU. He said the precise rates would remain in the hands of member states. “International tax loopholes are a thing of the past,” insisted Mr Dijsselbloem. He was backed by Philip Hammond, his British counterpart, who said the EU was keen “to make sure that international corporations pay the right tax at the right place”.

That’s the fair way to do it, and we are going to make sure it happens

British chancellor Philip Hammond