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Proċedura : 2007/2144(INI)
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Ċiklu relatat mad-dokument : A6-0481/2007

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A6-0481/2007

Dibattiti :

PV 14/01/2008 - 15
CRE 14/01/2008 - 15

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PV 15/01/2008 - 10.1
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It-Tnejn, 14 ta' Jannar 2008 - Strasburgu Edizzjoni riveduta

15. It-trattament fiscali ta' telf f'sitwazzjonijiet transkonfinali (dibattitu)
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  Presidente. − Segue-se o relatório da Deputada Piia-Noora Kauppi, em nome da Comissão dos Assuntos Económicos e Monetários, sobre o tratamento fiscal dos prejuízos num contexto transfronteiriço [2007/2144(INI)] (A6-0188/2005).

 
  
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  Piia-Noora Kauppi, rapporteur. − Mr President, I would like to start by emphasising what my report, which is being debated today, is essentially about. While the report is nominally about taxation, the real issue at stake here is the proper functioning of the internal market of the EU.

The global economy is developing in a way that puts an increasing amount of pressure on Europe to maintain its competitiveness, a fact that has been underlined and widely agreed upon in various instances, notably in the Lisbon Strategy and its revisions. We must be proactive in rising to the challenge and I believe that a fully-functioning single market is the first priority in achieving this.

In addition to the freedom of movement of goods, people and services, this implies, crucially, a level playing field for European companies to establish business in any location in Europe as if it were a single country, a home market – a genuine home market – where decisions are based according to a real economic advantage, not a distorted one created by red tape.

Obstacles to this freedom do not only lead to suboptimal economic choices but also prevent European businesses from expanding. The fact that some such obstacles still remain is regrettable, as a Europe-wide home market is a stepping stone to growth for European businesses and a precondition for creating more European world leaders.

Cross-border consolidation of losses – the subject of this report – is a step towards such a working home market. Currently, in this respect, the tax treatment of a group operating within a single Member State is heavily preferential compared to a cross-border situation. Within a single Member State a company can usually offset losses incurred by its branches and subsidiaries in the taxation of the parent company. However, in the case of branches and subsidiaries in other Member States, the national legislation varies considerably.

In most cases, if consolidation of losses for tax purposes within the same group is possible, it is nevertheless granted with considerable and varying delays. This discrepancy has grave consequences for the proper functioning of the internal market. It distorts investment decisions, constituting a barrier to entering some markets while tending to unfairly favour the large markets where losses can more easily be absorbed. It particularly hampers the SMEs’ capacity to expand, as they frequently incur start-up losses that they cannot immediately absorb – even the time factor is very relevant to SMEs. The existence of differing Member State legislation obviously also increases compliance costs, ill afforded by SMEs and conducive to tax engineering with larger companies.

Finally, delays in loss relief are understandably costly and burdensome to all European companies. There is a considerable cost burden involved when capital that is legitimately recoverable is tied up, often for years, because the current national loss relief legislation will not allow consolidation without delays.

The report promotes a remedy to this by promoting the possibility to offset losses in the same tax year, which would transfer the unreasonable time burden away from the company and to the public sector. It would also level the playing field, at the same time lowering companies’ compliance costs. It would also mean that the tax domain is one where there is still work to be done to make the most of the internal market. This does not imply harmonising tax rates, rather that tax competition is a healthy feature of the European economy. However, it does mean legislating to facilitate cross-border business, to establish a level playing field where investments are based on undistorted economic benefits.

I therefore welcome the Commission’s activities in this area in promoting cross-border loss relief measures. I would like to see Parliament support this urgently needed legislation, and I am grateful for the messages of support we have received during the process. I think that Parliament’s opinion on the question will also be very timely because the European Court of Justice has called for political guidance on the issue as well.

I would further like to encourage the Commission to push ahead with the CCTB as a longer-term solution, which I hope will also be supported by this House in this report. However, the CCTB is a long-term project, the realisation of which lies far in the future. In the mean time, cross-border laws, relief and consolidation of losses are urgently needed as an intermediate remedy to some serious problems encountered within the functioning of the internal market.

 
  
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  László Kovács, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, some weeks ago, as you remember, we discussed the contribution of taxation and customs policies to the Lisbon Strategy of growth, jobs and competitiveness. Cross-border loss relief is one key element for establishing a competitive internal market without obstacles and thus contributing to growth and employment.

Let me explain the importance of granting cross-border loss relief for the internal market. Imagine a small or medium-sized enterprise which is operating successfully in its domestic market. Once it plans to expand its operation to other Member States, to the internal market, it will not only run into problems regarding additional compliance costs. Thus, in many cases, this SME will not be able to set off any start-up losses against profits which it may continue to generate in its Member State of residence.

The non-consideration of foreign losses results in double taxation and discourages many SMEs from investing in other Member States. With the new initiative on cross-border loss relief, large enterprises – but also SMEs in particular – could more easily extend their activities abroad and enjoy the full benefits of the internal market.

The initiative on cross-border loss relief constitutes a targeted solution in the short to medium term and represents an intermediary step. But please note that this initiative could in the future be complementary to the common consolidated corporate tax base (CCTB), notably for companies that are not covered by the CCTB.

The initiative on cross-border loss relief is more limited in scope than the consolidation of the tax base under the CCTB would be, as this provides automatic and comprehensive off-setting of all profits and losses within a group of companies.

I highly appreciate the strong support expressed in Ms Kauppi’s report for the Commission’s initiative in the field of cross-border loss relief, for the coordination approach and of course also for our work on the CCTB.

Like you, I am persuaded that we should continue our efforts to dismantle tax barriers in the internal market.

 
  
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  Zsolt László Becsey, a PPE-DE képviselőcsoport nevében. – Köszönöm, elnök úr! Nagy elismerésemet szeretném kifejezni a biztos úrnak és Kauppi asszonynak a jelentés elkészítéséért, mert érzékeny és ellentétes indulatokat kiváltó, fontos témához nyúltak.

Két megjegyzés: egyrészt magam is fontosnak tartom, hogy a belső piac működése szempontjából ne álljon fel annak a veszélye, hogy csak azért, mert az anyavállalat és a leányvállalat két különböző tagállamban fejti ki tevékenységét, hátrányba kerüljenek a csupán egyetlen tagállamban tevékenykedőkhöz képest.

Ezért magam is szorgalmazom, hogy a kettős adóztatást zárjuk ki – amit a biztos úr is mondott –, akár elektronikus együttműködési mechanizmusok révén. Az időtényező miatt bátorítsuk a gazdasági szereplők hatékony határon átnyúló tevékenységét, alkalmazzuk a jóváírás vagy a mentesítés módszerét.

Ugyanakkor szerintem azzal is kell gondolatilag foglalkozni, amikor a leányvállalat nyereséges és az anyavállalat veszteséges. Piia-Noora Kauppi asszonynak: az új tagállamokban például ez egy érdekesebb helyzet a mi szempontunkból.

Másik megjegyzésem a kettős adóztatás eltörlése mellett a közös konszolidált adóalapra vonatkozik. Még előtte vagyunk a vitának, de vannak fenntartásaim: nem az adószuverenitás bajnoka akarok lenni, hanem ennek a közös konszolidált alapnak a hatását nem látom még tisztán. Félő ugyanis, hogy nagy lesz a politikai nyomás arra, hogy legyen itt is minimum szint, mint az áfánál vagy a jövedéki adózásnál. Ezt mutatják a szocialista és a kommunista, tehát a baloldali képviselők javaslata is, holott a maastrichti kritériumok ennek azt hiszem, hogy gátat szabnak.

De félelmem van ebben az ügyben azért is, mert nem tudom, milyen lesz a hatása az új, tőkeszegény keleti tagállamokra a belső piaci tőkeáramlás szempontjából. Kihez telepszik le az adminisztráció? És fenn lehet-e majd tartani a hátrányos infrastrukturális helyzet ellensúlyozására az egyedi adóalap-kedvezményeket is?

Ezért fogok ezeknél a részeknél tartózkodni, de egyébként szeretnék gratulálni még egyszer a biztos úrnak és a jelentéstevőnek. Köszönöm, elnök úr.

 
  
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  Donata Gottardi, a nome del gruppo PSE. – Signor Presidente, signor Commissario, onorevoli colleghi, la proposta di risoluzione che voteremo domani è emblematica per la necessità di una politica fiscale a livello di Unione europea.

Questo non significa esautorare o limitare le politiche fiscali nazionali – nessuno dubita della competenza in materia dei singoli Stati membri – ma significa accompagnarle e coordinarle in particolare quando, come nel caso delle perdite delle società quando ci si trova in situazione transfrontaliera, i confini nazionali sono superati nei fatti con le scelte di aggregazione e dislocazione delle imprese sul territorio europeo e non solo.

È evidente come non possono bastare regole nazionali, ma nemmeno accordi bilaterali, dato che i fenomeni sono molteplici, plurali e superano i singoli confini, oggi al tempo della globalizzazione dei mercati finanziari e produttivi. Il testo nei suoi contenuti è frutto della condivisione di numerosi punti comuni e mi limito a ricordare i principali ringraziando davvero la relatrice per la costante disponibilità manifestata.

27 regimi fiscali diversi impediscono il buon funzionamento del mercato interno ed ostacolano le imprese soprattutto quelle di minori dimensioni, come ci ricordava ora il Commissario Kovács. La prima affermazione che si trova nel testo è di palmare evidenza ed esprime la sua più viva preoccupazione per l'incidenza negativa che la diversità dei regimi applicati dagli Stati membri alle perdite transfrontaliere ha sul funzionamento del mercato interno.

La soluzione trovata è ancora transitoria e intermedia, perché solo una base imponibile consolidata comune per le società (CCTB) rappresenta la soluzione idonea. Ecco perché si appoggia la comunicazione della Commissione quale passo importante per affrontare la situazione e nello stesso tempo sollecitando un adeguato coordinamento tra gli Stati membri per quanto riguarda tempi e soluzioni – cito dal punto 4 .

L'importante è aver ricordato che esistono comuni istituti europei quali la società europea e la società cooperativa europea e disposizioni di fonte europea in materia di gruppi di dimensione comunitaria, che è importante valorizzare, perché ci consentono oltre di evocare il collegamento con le relazioni collettive di lavoro e quindi con le ripercussioni sull'occupazione, di riconoscere la costruzione di gruppi di imprese di livello europeo dotate di stabilità; perché quello che vogliamo promuovere è lo sviluppo e radicamento di un sistema produttivo che abbia nel suo cuore l'Europa e non il singolo Stato membro, un sistema produttivo che non segua le sirene e non scelga di dispiegarsi tatticamente nei diversi paesi a seconda delle convenienze fiscali, compensando i diritti e le perdite denunciate laddove convenga. Un sistema produttivo che possa contare sulla parità di trattamento, evitando contabilizzazioni diverse a seconda che società controllate capigruppo si trovino in uno stesso Stato o siano presenti nei diversi Stati.

Questo risultato si ottiene solo con regole apposite e con condizioni uniformi. Non si tratta di farne una bandiera di contrapposizione ideologica, riconoscere che la concorrenza fiscale fruttuosa smentirebbe in radice il contenuto di questa proposta.

 
  
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  Olle Schmidt, för ALDE-gruppen. – Herr talman! Ett tack till vår kollega Piia-Noora Kauppi för ett bra betänkande. På ett balanserat sätt redogör hon för de problem och svårigheter som uppstår på den inre marknaden när vi har 27 olika skattesystem. Globaliseringen, som har nämnts, har ju ytterligare ökat kraven på en gemensam syn inom EU på skattefrågor, så att konkurrenshinder kan undvikas. Olika regler och byråkrati gör också att företagen förlorar i ekonomisk styrka och att vi förlorar jobb inom EU. Vi behöver tydligare regler och ett synsätt som gynnar företagande, såsom Kauppi föreslår. Kanske också vissa av oss behöver ta bort en del skygglappar.

Skatter är som bekant ett mycket känsligt ämne. Det känsliga ordet heter skattekonkurrens och självständighet för nationerna att bestämma skattesatser. Det långsiktiga målet för kommissionen är en konsoliderad företagsskattebas. Då detta inte går att uppnå bör riktade åtgärder eftersträvas inom de områden som gynnar effektiviteten på den inre marknaden.

Betänkandet redovisar olika handlingsmöjligheter och visar på att enskilda länder har valt olika vägar, vilket är bra men inte tillräckligt. Det är principiellt rimligt att företag kan kvitta förluster inom ett bolag eller mellan bolag i ett konsortium även över gränser. För att underlätta en sådan ordning behövs en gemensam syn på vad som ska beskattas, dvs. en konsoliderad bolagsskattebas. Vi inom ALDE-gruppen tycker att detta är en riktig väg. Införandet av CCCTB förhindrar i sig inte skattekonkurrens, snarare tvärtom. Basen blir gemensam och överskådligheten bättre. Denna nyordning kommer att förbättra möjligheterna särskilt för små och medelstora företag att kvitta sina förluster. Oroade finansministrar – det finns ju många sådana – kan känna sig lugna. Er makt att beskatta kvarstår.

I fråga om ändringsförslag 1 vill vi från vår grupp ha en delad omröstning där den första delen, som handlar om punktskatter, kan behandlas separat. För övrigt kan vi tänka oss att lägga ned rösterna i omröstningen om Donata Gottardis ändringsförslag till skälen E och F för att möjliggöra en bred samsyn och ett brett stöd här i kammaren för detta utmärkta betänkande.

 
  
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  Dariusz Maciej Grabowski, w imieniu grupy UEN. – Panie Przewodniczący! Słowa uznania dla sprawozdawczyni, ale sprawozdanie jest kontrowersyjne. My będziemy głosować przeciwko, a oto powody.

Jest to próba ujednolicenia systemu podatkowego w Unii, a zatem narzucenia krajom członkowskim rozwiązań podatkowych. Jest to zatem jednocześnie uprzywilejowanie firm ponadnarodowych w stosunku do małych i średnich przedsiębiorstw, a to z kolei wymusiłoby na wielu firmach krajowych zakładanie filii i przedstawicielstw w innych krajach, bez uzasadnienia ekonomicznego, ale celem korzystania z przepisów obowiązujących firmy ponadnarodowe.

Ja przypomnę tylko, że firmy ponadnarodowe przez wiele lat korzystały z braku kwalifikacji i korupcji urzędników w krajach postkomunistycznych, by poprzez machinacje księgowo-podatkowe deklarować straty i nie płacić podatków. Działo się to za przyzwoleniem Unii. Nowa regulacja umożliwiłaby kontynuację procederu w majestacie prawa. Dziwi mnie to tym bardziej, że te szkodliwe efekty przeniosłyby się także na kraje starej Unii, gdzie właśnie obniżono by wysokość podatków.

Moim zdaniem należy wpierw w Unii rozwiązać problem machinacji księgowo-podatkowych firm ponadnarodowych oraz lepiej przygotować aparat skarbowy, szczególnie w nowych krajach członkowskich, co zapobiegłoby i pozwoliłoby lepiej wykrywać przestępstwa podatkowe.

 
  
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  Sahra Wagenknecht, im Namen der GUE/NGL-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, werte Kolleginnen und Kollegen! In einem Punkt kann man sich ansatzweise einig sein: Die derzeitige Situation in der EU, in der 27 verschiedene Steuersysteme auf einem einheitlichen Binnenmarkt bei voller Kapitalverkehrsfreiheit nebeneinander stehen, hat fatale Konsequenzen. Da hört allerdings die Einigkeit auch schon auf. Steuerwettbewerb ist Steuerdumping für die Großen und Reichen und wachsender Steuerdruck auf den Schultern von Normalverdienern und Konsumenten. Es ist nicht erstaunlich, dass diese Situation den Vermögensbesitzern und den Konzernen überaus gut gefällt.

Erstaunlich und erschreckend ist aber, dass diese Realität auch in diesem Hause, das eigentlich nicht nur die Interessen der oberen Zehntausend artikulieren sollte, immer wieder schöngeredet wird. Trotz Nuancen und nuancierten Bewertungen ist der Bericht Kauppi auch wieder ein Beispiel solcher Schönrederei. Das betrifft die Position zu angeblich positiven Wirkungen des Steuerwettbewerbs ebenso wie den Umgang mit dem eigentlichen Gegenstand, dem grenzüberschreitenden Verlustausgleich.

Es ist ein offenes Geheimnis, dass gerade die grenzüberschreitende Verlustverrechnung ein gern genutztes Mittel der Konzerne ist, Steuern zu minimieren, indem man Gewinne in Niedrigsteuergebiete und Niedrigsteuerländer verschiebt. Mit erheblichem Erfolg, wie die Statistiken zeigen. Denn nicht zuletzt solcherart virtuose Verlustverschiebung hat dazu beigetragen, dass der Anteil der Steuern an den Profiten der Multis in den letzten 20 Jahren kontinuierlich gesunken ist. Die Urteile des EuGH haben diese Steuergestaltung zusätzlich erleichtert und damit massiv in die Steuerhoheit der Mitgliedstaaten eingegriffen. Der Dumpingwettlauf bei den Unternehmenssteuern wurde so immer weiter angeheizt.

Wer diese Entwicklung stützt, der will offenbar ein Europa, in dem sich oben unermesslicher Reichtum häuft, während die Armut auf der Gegenseite immer größer wird und auch die ehemaligen Mittelschichten mit sinkenden Realeinkommen zu kämpfen haben. Wir wollen ein anderes Europa, und wir wollen eine sozial gerechte Steuerpolitik. Deshalb wird unsere Fraktion den vorliegenden Bericht ablehnen.

 
  
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  John Whittaker, on behalf of the IND/DEM Group. – Mr President, the rapporteur claims that this initiative will encourage small and medium-sized enterprises to expand their cross-border business. But I have little doubt that it has been heavily promoted by the large multinationals, because it is they that stand to benefit most. In my country, in Britain, the vast majority of businesses are small, and they provide for some 70% of employment. Only a tiny proportion of these have any interest in foreign operations. But my main objection is that it is more meddling by the European Union in taxation matters. Judging by the EU’s record of value added tax, there will be endless changes to the law. We have had eight directives on VAT so far, and it is still a mess and prone to fraud.

Businesses operate best when there are simple, well understood rules, as Mr Schmidt has just said. The EU knows how to do only one thing, and it does it to perfection. And that is to make things complicated. So, contrary to the views of other Members, a much better plan would be to encourage tax competition. Then those nations that have the lightest and simplest taxes will attract the most businesses.

 
  
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  Elisa Ferreira (PSE). – Senhor Presidente, as práticas diferenciadas entre os distintos países no tratamento das perdas fiscais distorcem a concorrência no mercado interno, são injustas e incentivam más práticas fiscais. Saudamos, pois, a iniciativa da Comissão de propor um nível mínimo de harmonização destas regras esperando que o Conselho possa convergir no mesmo sentido. Trata-se de uma área em que a melhor regulação é necessária, também para substituir a incerteza jurídica que lhe está associada. Ela tem suscitado, esta incerteza, o repetido recurso à intervenção do Tribunal de Justiça das Comunidades Europeias e é factor de aumento de incerteza nas relações económicas prejudicando as empresas e as PME.

É de facto da maior importância garantir que as diferentes práticas fiscais são compatíveis com um efectivo funcionamento do mercado interno. A qualidade do parecer preparado pela relatora, Sra. Kauppi, permitiu um consenso alargado dos principais grupos políticos em torno dos elementos fundamentais que o integram. No entanto, há aspectos do parecer, na sua versão inicial, que, não sendo essenciais, poderiam impedir essa convergência. Em concreto, aos olhos do grupo socialista, este processo não é compatível com a defesa aberta de práticas de concorrência fiscal. Tais práticas estimulam movimentos artificias de empresas, capitais e pessoas. Tais movimentos deixam frequentemente rastos de desagregação social, ambiental e do tecido produtivo. Por outro lado, a concorrência fiscal gera, em algumas economias, graves problemas de equilíbrio macroeconómico com consequências diversas, nomeadamente ao nível da qualidade e quantidade dos bens públicos disponibilizados por esses países aos seus cidadãos.

O Grupo dos Socialistas Europeus considera que, num assunto desta relevância estratégica, há todo o interesse em apresentar perante a Comissão e o Conselho uma posição do Parlamento Europeu reforçada por uma ampla base de apoio. Na linha da presente iniciativa, a União Europeia tem ainda um longo caminho a percorrer, nomeadamente naquela que já foi hoje tão falada a CCCTB na criação de uma base consolidada comum em matéria tributável para as suas empresas e temos de criar condições políticas para esse trabalho futuro.

A convergência em relação ao presente relatório está ao nosso alcance. Esperamos que, até ao momento da votação final, o espírito de compromisso entre os principais grupos políticos permita valorizar o consenso alcançado em torno das suas mensagens essenciais e não venha a perturbar a amplitude da aprovação final, valorizando aspectos que apesar de acessórios no presente contexto, nos dividem politicamente de forma não ultrapassável.

Temos de agradecer neste processo o activo envolvimento de vários membros do Grupo do PPE em particular, incluindo a sua relatora, o seu espírito de compromisso e o seu espírito de abertura, que permitiu atingir uma posição que esperamos seja de consenso em torno das matérias essenciais deste relatório. Muito obrigada, Senhor Presidente.

 
  
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  Margarita Starkevičiūtė (ALDE). – Aš norėčiau atkreipti dėmesį į vieną dalyką, kad mes labai daug kalbam apie įvairius vidaus rinkos trūkumus ir per mažai dėmesio akcentuojame, kad vidaus rinkos plėtra suteikia mums didžiulius privalumus. Šitas dokumentas yra svarbus tuo aspektu, kad jis suteikia privalumus įmonėms, dirbančioms bendroje rinkoje, padidinti savo darbo našumą. Tačiau nereikia pamiršti kito aspekto. Aš atstovauju šalį, kurioje dauguma įmonių priklauso europinėms įmonėms, jos nėra nacionalinės. Ir mums kartais labai sunku valdyti savo ekonomiką makroekonominiu aspektu todėl, kad koorporatyvinės strategijos užgožia nacionalinės ekonomikos tikslus, kaip fiskalinis subalansuotumas ir panašiai. Vadinasi, čia mes turime surasti puikų kompromisą tarp vidaus rinkos plėtros privalumų ir makroekonominio stabilumo. Aš dar kartą norėčiau komisaro atkreipti dėmesį į būtinybę koordinuoti savo politiką su ekonominiais klausimais ir su ponu Almunia.

 
  
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  Zbigniew Krzysztof Kuźmiuk (UEN). – Panie Przewodniczący! Zabierając głos w debacie dotyczącej przepisów podatkowych odnoszących się do odliczania strat powstających w sytuacjach transgranicznych, chcę zwrócić uwagę na następujące kwestie.

Po pierwsze, podatki bezpośrednie – a takim jest podatek dochodowy od firm – nie wchodzą w kompetencje Komisji Europejskiej, w związku z tym z zasady nie powinny być przedmiotem jej zainteresowania.

Po drugie, wyrażam zdziwienie, że w raporcie znalazły się stwierdzenia wyrażające dezaprobatę dla przeprowadzonych w niektórych państwach członkowskich, szczególnie nowoprzyjętych, obniżek stawek podatku dochodowego od osób prawnych.

Po trzecie, wyrażam również zaniepokojenie wzywaniem Komisji do przyśpieszenia prac nad wprowadzaniem w Unii Europejskiej jednolitej podstawy opodatkowania w podatku dochodowym od osób prawnych. Konstrukcja tego podatku, stawki, ustalanie podstawy opodatkowania są bowiem jednym z nielicznych instrumentów pozostających w gestii rządów państw członkowskich, które mogą być używane do przyśpieszenia rozwoju gospodarczego państw słabiej rozwiniętych.

Po czwarte wreszcie, analizując propozycje w zakresie podatku dochodowego od osób prawnych, przedstawiane przez Komisję, można odnieść wrażenie, że chodzi jej o to, aby wszystkie kraje członkowskie rozwijały się w tempie najwyżej 2% przyrostu PKB rocznie, ale wtedy w jaki sposób państwa nowoprzyjęte nadrobią dwudziesto-, trzydziestoletni dystans dzielący je od krajów najbardziej rozwiniętych?

 
  
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  Κατερίνα Μπατζελή (PSE). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, κύριε Επίτροπε, το πρόβλημα της φορολόγησης και δυνατότητας μεταφοράς των ζημιών για ομίλους εταιρειών με διασυνοριακή δράση στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση δεν μπορεί να αντιμετωπίζεται απλά και μόνο με το κριτήριο της διευκόλυνσης της διασυνοριακής δράσης των επιχειρήσεων. Ασφαλώς ο στόχος αυτός είναι σημαντικός για την ομαλή λειτουργία της εσωτερικής αγοράς, αλλά όταν ζητούμενο είναι η φορολογία των επιχειρήσεων, όπως στην περίπτωση της έκθεσης που εξετάζουμε σήμερα, την έκθεση της κ. Kauppi, τότε η διάστασή του θα πρέπει να τεθεί στο γενικότερο πλαίσιο της συζήτησης για μεγαλύτερο φορολογικό συντονισμό στα πλαίσια της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης.

Όσο δεν υφίστανται ίσοι όροι φορολογικού ανταγωνισμού και δεν υπάρχει η ελάχιστη απαιτούμενη συμφωνία επί της κοινής, ενοποιημένης φορολογικής βάσης επιχειρήσεων- που θα θέτει ομοιόμορφους και διαφανείς κανόνες προσμέτρησης της φορολογικής βάσης- η παροχή δυνατοτήτων όπως αυτή των φορολογικών ελαφρύνσεων για ζημιές διασυνοριακού χαρακτήρα, μας βρίσκει επιφυλακτικούς στη σημερινή φάση διότι ενέχει σοβαρούς κινδύνους διαστρέβλωσης των φορολογικών συστημάτων και εσόδων των κρατών μελών, αλλά και της ίδιας της λειτουργίας της εσωτερικής αγοράς και του ανταγωνισμού μεταξύ επιχειρήσεων.

 
  
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  Olle Schmidt (ALDE). – Mr President, with this new form of debate I could of course use this minute to ask the Commissioner what the current state of play is concerning CCCTB in the Council, because we know that some Ministers of Finance are not very happy. Could you please, Mr Commissioner, tell us how the debate is going on within the Council and what the 27 Member States are proposing today?

 
  
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  László Kovács, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, I have followed the debate with great interest, and it has confirmed my conviction that the introduction of cross-border loss relief is an important factor for the deepening of the internal market.

I fully share the views of Ms Kauppi that on the surface it is about taxation, but in reality it is about the proper functioning of the internal market.

I am particularly grateful for your support with facilitating, in particular, the cross-border economic activities of the SMEs, which is very close to my heart. I would like to thank the rapporteur, Ms Kauppi, for the very encouraging report, as well as the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on Legal Affairs for their support. The Commission can agree with most of the conclusions.

The support of Parliament is welcome as a factor which may have a positive impact on the subsequent discussion in the Council. As suggested in the report, I can assure you that we are continuing efforts on the CCCTB and on the coordination of Member States’ direct tax systems. The CCCTB is also very close to my heart, and the reason is that I am absolutely certain that it would be of greater relative benefit to the small and medium-sized enterprises than the big multinationals.

However, I understand the concerns, and to respond to the question at the end of the debate, I want to tell you that in the Council it is on the table, but not as a concrete proposal. For the time being it is on the table as a concept, and as far as the concept is concerned, some two thirds of Member States expressed their support and less than one third expressed either doubts or opposition.

Any discussion, particularly discussion which would prejudice the current debate on the cross-border loss relief issue, would be premature because there is, for the time being, no concrete legislative proposal. In the legislative work programme of the Commission, however, there is one point which states that, in the second half of the year, we will present a concrete legislative proposal – with the necessary impact assessment – on the CCCTB. Then we can discuss whether the concerns are relevant or not.

One more point: if there is no unanimous agreement – and for the time being I believe that there will be no unanimous agreement – we can resort to enhanced cooperation as a solution. So, no single Member State would be forced to accept the CCCTB and to use it. And, even in those countries that chose the CCCTB, no companies would be forced to use it, because there would be no sense in forcing companies that are not operating in the internal market – that are not doing business in the internal market – to use this common tax base. They can stay with the domestic national base used previously.

So I share your conclusion that, in order to promote coherent development and the proper functioning of the internal market, obstacles deriving from the existence of different company tax regimes in the Member States must be tackled, preferably through common approaches and coordinated actions.

With regard to the loss offset, your report highlights several specific areas where more work needs to be done, such as addressing the particular needs of SMEs, the definition of groups and the scope for automatic information exchange.

My services will study these suggestions and comments and, where possible, bring the issues forward. The SME aspect is already an important part of the work of Vice-President Günther Verheugen. Another aspect, the definition of groups of companies, is an essential element of the work on the CCCTB.

I can also assure you that your recommendations for cross-border loss relief within companies and groups of companies will orient our work in the coming months. There are several references in your report to tax avoidance. Here it may be noted that, last December, the Commission adopted a communication on the application of anti-abuse measures in the area of direct taxation.

The Commission shares the concerns about tax avoidance expressed in your report. Member States need to be able to prevent their tax bases from being eroded because of abuse and aggressive tax planning. At the same time it is vital to ensure that there will be no undue restrictions to the Treaty freedoms. By launching this latest initiative, the Commission seeks to prompt further discussions with the other institutions on how national anti-abuse measures can meet those requirements. Your observations on tax avoidance risk will be taken into consideration.

Finally, as regards the proposed amendments to the report, the Commission would advise against amendments 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, but it could support amendments 7 and 8, which are in line with the spirit of the communication.

 
  
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  Piia-Noora Kauppi, rapporteur. − Mr President, I will be very brief. I am of course happy to note that most of the groups are going to support the report tomorrow in the vote. My group has suggested abstaining with regard to Amendments 7 and 8. I think that it is in line with the Commission’s recommendations as well that 7 and 8 will probably be adopted and that means that we have a very large majority backing the report tomorrow.

I also would like to remember a little bit the past: how difficult it was before we accepted the first company taxation directives – a Parent-Subsidiary Directive and an Interest and Royalties Directive in the 1990s – to speak about these items. But they are now there after serious discussion, and I still believe that we can have all the practical things, like anti-abusive measures, that we can improve the Parent-Subsidiary Directive and that we can improve the workings of the Transfer Pricing Forum, and such initiatives are very much needed.

But, in the end, we need a very large solution and CCCTB. At this time it is the best available option and we must take it seriously. I hope that it will be done during this European Parliament term, before the 2009 elections. Something must be done before the 2009 elections and we cannot afford to wait for Member States to come up with their ratifications and referendums. We must act now and before the time is up for this Parliament.

 
  
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  Presidente. − O debate está encerrado.

A votação terá lugar na terça-feira, 15 de Janeiro de 2008.

 
Aġġornata l-aħħar: 10 t'April 2008Avviż legali