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Parliamentary questions
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1 July 2020
Answer given by Mr Gentiloni
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-002384/2020

The severity of the COVID-19 pandemic will have dramatic implications for many businesses across Europe. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are particularly affected by the crisis and will need support, including in the tax area.

In the communication on an SME strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe adopted on 10 March 2020, tax compliance was identified as one of the challenges SMEs face to conduct business in the EU(1). The Commission has recently published a roadmap for an Action Plan to fight tax evasion and make taxation simple and easy, which will be followed up by a number of key initiatives to facilitate tax compliance(2).

This includes a framework for a preventive dialogue between tax administrations for the common resolution of cross-border tax issues faced by SMEs. The Commission is also exploring the use of digital solutions to reduce compliance costs, both for tax administrations and businesses.

Furthermore, the Commission intends to simplify the life of taxpayers operating in the Single Market by increasing their awareness to their rights under EC law and to recommend actions, how to facilitate the implementation of taxpayers’ rights and to simplify tax obligations.

In the Value Added Tax (VAT) area, Member States have recently agreed on the Commission proposal for new simplification rules that will help reduce VAT compliance costs for SMEs in the EU, and provide the VAT exemption to small businesses established in another Member State than the one in which the VAT is due(3).

The Commission is committed to delivering its work programme to support SMEs and help SME growth and innovation within the EU, in particular given the current context, and will follow up on the initiatives explored.

(1)Communication ‘An SME Strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe’ of 10 March 2020, COM(2020) 103 final. See also the accompanying Commission Staff Working Document ‘Business Journey on the Single Market: Practical Obstacles and Barriers’, SWD(2020)54 final of 10 March 2020.
(3)Adoption on 18 February 2020 of the Commission proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of value added tax as regards the special scheme for small enterprises of 18 January 2020. Applicable as of January 2025.
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