European Parliament Report - It is time to put an end to the "old and unfair" practice of special tax deals for multi-nationals, according to the chair of the European Parliament's investigation committee into the Lux Leaks controversy.

Edel McAllister looks at the European Parliament's committee examining tax rulings

French MEP Alain Lamassoure has been appointed chair of  the Parliament’s special committee examining tax rulings, the Lux Leaks affair and related issues, which officially began work this week.

The so-called Lux Leaks controversy hit the headlines in November when leaked documents showed that Luxembourg helped several large multinationals to save millions in tax.

Speaking to RTÉ's European Parliament Report in Strasbourg, Mr Lamassoure said global companies had to pay taxes "where they have their businesses" and this clearly wasn't the case at the moment.

He said the so called Lux Leaks controversy had outraged public opinion everywhere and it was time to deal with this issue.

He described the current tax arrangements of multi-nationals as a "global, worldwide problem" adding that he was travelling to Washington to discuss how the US is dealing with the same issue in two week's time.

One figure the investigation may call to give evidence is the current president of the Commission Jean Claude Junker who was prime minister for Luxembourg when hundreds of tax deals were agreed.  So could this be awkward for the new head of the Commission?

Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes and a member of the investigating committee says Junker has so far handled the controversy well, immediately addressing parliament when the scandal erupted.

So could the committee's work also prove awkward for Ireland's tax arrangements with multi-nationals?  One of which is currently already the subject of a separate investigation by the European Commission under state aid rules.

Mr Hayes says the MEP's investigation won't affect the result of the Commission's ruling on Ireland's tax arrangements with Apple, which is due some time before the summer.

It's been reported that the committee wants to call former two former taoisigh to ask about how Ireland's corporate tax system worked.  However it does not have power to compel witnesses, and is tied into a challenging six month time frame.

Despite its limited legal powers, we can however, expect the committee's conclusions to get their fair share of headlines when it reports at the end of the summer.