Parliaments across Europe are today urging their respective governments to do more to make tax transparent

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Parliaments across Europe are today urging their respective governments to do more to make tax transparent.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has unveiled an open letter, signed by the chairs of parliamentary finance committees of Germany, Hungary, Finland, Norway and Slovakia, along with senior MPs from the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

The letter calls on governments to implement measures that would require companies to declare their revenue, profit before income tax, income paid and accrued, total employment, capital, retained earnings and tangible assets for each jurisdiction they operate in.

The letter reads: "We want to see this information published so that our citizens can see for themselves what tax multinationals pay so that not only will our national tax authorities see the full picture but so will our citizens."

The issue of tax transparency came to the attention of the public at large earlier this year when it was revealed that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) had struck a so-called sweetheart deal with Google for £130m in unpaid corporation tax.

Shortly after the deal came to light, the PAC hosted a somewhat heated hearing to take evidence from key staff from the technology giant and HMRC.

"Our committee believes strongly that the tax affairs of multinational companies should be open to public scrutiny," said PAC chair Meg Hillier today. "Businesses use complex strategies to minimise their tax bills and the lack of transparency over these arrangements does nothing to build confidence that corporations are paying their fair share."

As well as the letter, a number of MPs in the UK are also backing an amendment to the Finance Bill that would oblige large multinationals to publicise country-by-country details of their corporation tax position.

The Bill is currently in committee stage at the House of Commons.

City A.M., 1 July 2016