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EC outlines tax action plan

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At a hearing with EU taxation commissioners on 31 March 2015, Pierre Moscovici (the European Commissioner) outlined the European Commission's (EC) priorities and announced the proposals for a new EC Action Plan. Mr Moscovici's speech followed the EC’s publication of a comprehensive package of tax transparency measures on 18 March 2015.

In his speech, Moscovici suggested that future measures to address the ‘fundamental problems’ in corporate taxation in Europe would need to go far beyond the ‘revolutionary’ transparency package and information exchange. He also appeared to imply that such measures may also need go further than the current work of the OECD under the BEPS project. The proposals outlined in the speech included:

  • improving the Code of Conduct on Business Taxation
  • the collection of reliable data on the extent and the economic impact of fraud and tax evasion
  • exploring ways of ensuring profits are, more systematically, taxed where value is created, and
  • an intention to restart discussions on the possible introduce of a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB)

The commissioner announced his intention to bring forward the EC action plan on corporate taxation before summer 2015.

In addition, the European Parliament passed a resolution laying down the foundations for further parliamentary work on tax, including fact finding by the Special Committee on Tax Rulings and the legislative work of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee.

The European Parliament confirmed that a key principle should be that tax competition should be fair and transparent. The MEPs also welcomed the tax transparency package tabled by the EC on 18 March 2015, but called for further proposals to be tabled to combat tax avoidance and tax havens.

In related news, the EC has formally asked Belgium to bring its rules on dividend taxation into line with the Parent-Subsidiary Directive (Directive 2011/96/EU), saying that at present Belgian tax rules do not allow income from financial instruments that have been sold, given as security or lent with respect to the parties to agreements on in rem securities or loans in cross-border situations to be deducted from taxable income. The Belgian authorities have two months within which to notify the EC of the measures they have taken to apply the Directive correctly; failing this the EC has warned it could take Belgium to the CJEU.

The EC has also asked France to apply the normal VAT rate to products of agricultural origin which are not intended for use in food products or in agricultural production. France currently authorises the application of a reduced VAT rate for certain products used in the production of non-food industrial products.

Meanwhile, the EC is referring Greece to the CJEU regarding its favourable inheritance tax treatment of bequests to non-profit organisations, and its ‘discriminatory’ inheritance tax exemption for primary residences which applies only to EU nationals residing in Greece.

Issue: 1257
Categories: News , International taxes