According to a report by the European Commission, although Malta has a nominal rate of corporate income tax is 35 percent, due to the full imputation system of taxation, the "real" rate can go as low as approximately 5 percent.
This lower effective tax rate can be obtained if the taxpayer organizes itself by having a group of a minimum of two companies (parent and subsidiary) that are resident in Malta.
Malta is already under investigation by the EU over its taxation system, following a visit to the Mediterranean island by the European Parliament's Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA), February 2017, which found that "the Maltese tax system can be prone to abuse and confirmed that Malta disagreed with Commission proposals on specific tax issues."
#EPlenary will ask EU Commission &Council to give a statement to MEPs on #PanamaPapers fallout & respect of Rule of Law in #Malta on 14 June— Roberta Metsola MEP (@RobertaMetsola) 18 May 2017
Specifically, Malta has resisted the EU proposal that multinationals operating in the EU with global revenues exceeding US$842 million a year to publish key information on where they make their profits and where they pay their tax in the EU on a country-by-country basis.
"With a corporate tax rate of just 5 percent and an almost 100 percent tax refund for shareholders, Malta has one of the most lenient corporate tax regimes in the EU, which in turn facilitates the laundering of criminal money," said Fabio De Masi, Vice-Chair of the PANA Committee, following the committee's visit to Malta.
Accounts obtained by @mcaruanagalizia show secret Gibraltar company owned by #Malta PM's top aide held £4.3 million in 2011 alone pic.twitter.com/4C1HTyFA6V— Jacob Borg (@BorgJake) 17 May 2017
"In the past, Malta has lobbied the Council against efforts for more corporate transparency and against stricter anti-money laundering rules. In a country where political elites — from conservatives to the social democrats — have featured so prominently in the Panama Papers. The Maltese government should expect tough questioning from the public on money laundering and tax dodging during the current EU Presidency," De Masi said.