Following criticism, the group has now announced the names and locations of its subsidiaries in tax havens outside the EU.
The green finance politician and money laundering expert Lisa Paus does not go far enough.
There are enormous sums of money that the Ministry of Economy and Finance lists in an internal report that is available to NewsABC.net: As of May 12, the federal and state governments have approved applications for emergency aid for small businesses and the self-employed worth almost EUR 12 billion; In addition, KfW aid has been approved with a value of EUR 19.3 billion.
And the sum could still increase: The federal government is currently negotiating state aid with Lufthansa, it is about 10 billion euros – and an impending insolvency as early as June. After criticism from the SPD, the airline has now published the seats of its subsidiaries in tax havens as a sign of goodwill. These are primarily holdings in Panama, Guam and the Cayman Islands.
In terms of transparency, Lufthansa is going one step further than many other German companies and corporations that have applied for corona aid from the state. For Lisa Paus, the spokeswoman for the Greens’ financial policy, the step does not go far enough.
“We simply do not know how many Corona aid funds are seeping into tax sumps”
“The federal government must make it clear that companies applying for state aid must in principle disclose in which country they make which profits and how many taxes they pay”, Paus demands in an interview with NewsABC.net. “Subsidiaries for tax purposes in EU blacklist countries must be closed.”
Proceeding like Lufthansa, which only published the names, locations and number of employees of its companies in tax havens, does not help with the necessary review by the state, says Paus: “In order to uncover profit deferrals and tax structuring, it is necessary to at least know what profits and Tax payments actually accrue there. ”
It should be noted that not every transfer of profits abroad is objectionable. German tax law contains corresponding legal practices. However, the government aid granted in the Corona crisis is conditional on the fact that it is used and taxed exclusively in Germany.
“We simply do not know how many of the Corona aid funds and loans seep into tax sumps,” says Paus. “So we need transparency and public control to ensure that the money stays in the country – and that there is no subsidy fraud.”
No corona help for tax avoiders? “That would be negligent”
According to Paus, it would be no additional effort for the federal government to track the profits and tax payments made by corporate companies abroad – such country-specific reporting would ultimately take place in front of the tax office for international companies.
“But so far there has been no exchange between the tax office and the authorities that are now responsible for the corona subsidies,” says Paus. She therefore demands that the tax office’s information be made publicly available: “If taxpayers step in during the crisis, the public also has a right to know where government aid is going.”
Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) has already dampened such expectations at the beginning of the week. Speaking to the ARD program “Report from Berlin”, he said when asked about the subsidiaries of Lufthansa in tax havens: “I am strictly against speculation with unproven claims.” Currently, a “concrete model” between the government and the Airline negotiated: “There are several ways we can protect the interests of the taxpayer.”
A maximum solution would be to pay no state aid to corporations that maintain companies in tax havens. The Federal Government rules this out – and Paus also considers such a solution to be impractical: “Then we would have to have two thirds of the DAX companies and a large proportion of the companies listed on the stock exchange sold through Wupper. That would be negligent. ”
6 figures that show the extent of the corona crisis for the German economy
- 2. 36,605 KfW applications approved
The state development bank KfW claims to have received more than 38,000 corona applications. These are exclusively loan aids, mainly for medium and large companies. The bank approved at least 36,605 of them, the paper said. The volume distributed so far is 19.3 billion euros.
The government separately pledged guarantees totaling around 1.3 billion euros for unspecified large companies. Six further applications worth around 1.5 billion euros are in progress, according to the government document.
- 3. 11.8 percent drop in goods exports
Goods exports slumped sharply in March, 11.8 percent compared to the previous month. The paper refers to figures from the Federal Statistical Office. Exports to euro countries such as Italy, France and Spain were particularly affected. Figures for the April lockdown month are not yet available, but are likely to be even worse.
5. 37 percent decline in loan agreements
Have the Germans become risk-averse? In any case, compared to the previous year, there was a sharp decline in new loan contracts for private customers, namely by up to 37 percent per week compared to the previous year, the paper said. The data come from the Federal Statistical Office.
6. 3,822 hotline calls to the Ministry in one week
Finally, a number for gourmets. At the beginning of the crisis, the Federal Ministry of Economics set up its own corona hotlines. And they were used quite a bit. At the peak, in the first week of lockdown (March 23-29), there were 3,822 calls. Means: The phone rang on average every three minutes.
Since then the calls have been steadily decreasing. Last week there were only 560.
And what did the callers want to know? The focus was on how to apply, questions about KfW loans, in particular options for extending the term and problems of small business owners with landlords or suppliers.