Market leading insight for tax experts
View online issue

EU publishes model taxpayers’ code

printer Mail

The European Commission has published a ‘European taxpayers’ code’, presented as a set of non-binding guidelines, which are intended as a model for member states to follow and adapt to their own national context where necessary. The Commission consulted on a draft between February and May 2013.

The European taxpayers’ code is one of the 34 initiatives contained in the Commission’s December 2012 action plan against tax fraud and tax evasion; namely, enhancing tax compliance in member states.

Some of the concerns expressed about a code at European level were that it would:

  • impact subsidiarity;
  • be better achieved at national level;
  • merge different principles of different jurisdictions; and
  • not be effective at tackling tax fraud and evasion.

However, a majority of respondents were in favour, on the grounds that such a code would contribute to:

  • equal treatment of all taxpayers;
  • higher levels of legal certainty;
  • enhanced transparency;
  • reduced disputes;
  • standardised compliance processes;
  • benchmarking for third countries;
  • improved practices and predictable assessment of tax liability;
  • specifying principles; and
  • better understanding in communications with other member states.

The first part of the code gathers best practices implemented in most member states. The latter part focuses on practices that are implemented only in some member states, which could be considered more widely, in order to facilitate compliance in tax matters. The main practices are:

  • electronic administration and online services: to reduce taxpayers’ compliance burdens;
  • innovative approaches for better compliance: e.g. based on a behavioural approach or collaborative compliance;
  • availability of information in several languages and promotion of a commonly used language: availability of basic published information, generally in English, would be helpful not only for taxpayers, but also for the tax administrations of other member states; and
  • greater transparency: e.g. making public that businesses/companies are paying their taxes, public awareness of corporate tax decisions, publication by tax administrations of statistics and periodical reports, and defining and updating key service standards.


Issue: 1334
Categories: News , International taxes