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23-10-2015

Tax rulings special committee finalises its recommendations

It has taken eight months of hard work, but the results are finally there: on Monday 26 October the special committee on tax rulings votes on its recommendations for achieving fair and transparent corporate taxation in Europe. MEPs vote on them during November's plenary session, although before that multinationals will still have a chance to share their views on the matter with the committee. Read on for more information and an overview of taxation levels in member states.  

Taxation deals for multinationals
It can be technically legal for multinationals to benefit from a preferential tax treatment, but that does not make it necessarily fair as people and small and medium-sized companies still have to pay their taxes in full. On 21 October the European Commission released two decisions, stating: "Luxembourg and the Netherlands have granted selective tax advantages to Fiat Finance and Trade and Starbucks, respectively." This is illegal under EU rules for state aid.

MEPs dealing with taxation issues have welcomed the Commission's decisions, calling it "an important step forward to tackling aggressive tax planning practices by multinational corporations in Europe".

Parliament's position
The special committee on tax rulings will vote on its recommendations on Monday 26 October at 19.00 CET. A press conference will take place the next day at 15.00 CET, featuring statements from the two MEPs responsible for drafting the recommendations Portuguese S&D member Elisa Ferreira and German ALDE member Michael Theurer, as well as committee chair Alain Lamassoure, a French member of the EPP group.

German EPP member Markus Ferber, who wrote a report on the automatic exchange of tax rulings between member states, will also take part in the press conference. In his report he calls member state' current approach on the exchange of tax rulings "a disappointment" as it does not meet expectations. MEPs vote on his report during the plenary session on Tuesday 27 October.

Multinationals' views
Multinational corporations will have the opportunity to share their views on recent taxation developments during an extraordinary meeting of the tax rulings committee on 16 November. So far only Google and Facebook have accepted the invitation, but enterprises that previously declined invitations can still take part.

Plenary vote on tax rulings recommendations
The plenary vote on the recommendations by the tax rulings committee is scheduled for the last week of November, so MEPs still have time to table amendments following the committee meeting with multinationals on 16 November.