In 2012, EPSU, the European Federation of Public Service Unions, launched a campaign to close the tax gap in Europe estimated at â‚¬ 1000 bn per year (Study by UK expert Richard Murphy for the S&D), as part of the alternatives to EU-coordinated austerity. EPSU believes that it is essential to tackle tax evasion and corporate tax avoidance and ensure that governments are able to collect the levels of the tax that have been democratically agreed to finance public services and redistribute wealth and income.
The campaign flows from the EPSU tax justice charter (adopted by the EPSU Executive Committee, 2010) alongside its demands for the introduction of a Financial Transactions Tax, a common strategy to increase tax on capital and EU common principles on fair and progressive taxation and the eradication of tax havens.
As well as highlighting extent of tax evasion and avoidance and calling for policy change, the purpose of the campaign from a public service union angle is to expose how the resources available to close the tax gap have been eroded through austerity measures. Through the commissioning of two pieces of research to the LRD, EPSU has shown that employment in tax offices has been cut in 24 out of 28 states in the past four years with the loss of more than 56,000 jobs and more cuts to come.