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New EU withholding tax guidelines for cross-border investors

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On 11 December 2017, the European Commission put forward new guidelines on withholding taxes, designed to help Member States reduce costs and simplify procedures to recover withholding taxes for cross-border investors in the EU. The guidelines are intended to apply to cross-border passive income (mainly dividends, interest and royalties), sourced in an EU Member State and paid to EU residents and to non-residents.

The new voluntary guidelines form part of the EU's Capital Markets Union Action Plan and contain a range of practical ways for Member States to address key issues including:

·         measures to help smaller investors for whom the rules on the refund of withholding tax are overly complex

·         the creation of user-friendly digital forms to apply for withholding tax relief in the case of overpayment

·         a reliable and effective timeframe for tax authorities for the granting of withholding tax relief

·         a single point of contact in Member State tax administrations to deal with questions from investors on withholding tax

See the new ‘Code of conduct on withholding taxes’ at

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