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Advances in administrative cooperation in the field of taxation

08-04-2021

The digitalisation of the economy opens the door to new cross-border economic activities that makes it possible to under-report income and under-pay tax. It also presents new challenges for tax administrations, already faced with limited access to information at the national level. Hence, in July 2020 the Commission proposed to amend the provisions on information exchange and administrative cooperation and to include the automatic exchange of data on information declared by digital platform operators ...

The digitalisation of the economy opens the door to new cross-border economic activities that makes it possible to under-report income and under-pay tax. It also presents new challenges for tax administrations, already faced with limited access to information at the national level. Hence, in July 2020 the Commission proposed to amend the provisions on information exchange and administrative cooperation and to include the automatic exchange of data on information declared by digital platform operators in their scope. The goal is to ensure that sellers on digital platforms pay their fair share of taxes, align EU countries to the digital economy, and close the gaps for tax evasion and avoidance. Right now, having secure tax revenues is vital for the provision of support to the people and businesses most in need. The Parliament's ECON committee adopted its report on the proposal for an amended Directive on Administrative Cooperation (DAC7) on 4 February 2021. The Parliament adopted its opinion on the Commission’s proposal on 10 March 2021. The Council had reached agreement on the proposal on 1 December 2020, and formally adopted it on 22 March 2021. Member States have to transpose the directive's provisions and apply them as of 1 January 2023, except for the provisions on joint audits which will apply from 2024.

Outlook for the meetings of EU leaders on 25-26 March 2021

22-03-2021

One year after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the fight against the virus will again top the agenda of the European Council meeting on 25-26 March 2021. EU leaders are expected to focus their discussions on ‘digital green certificates’ (providing proof of vaccination and/or Covid-19 test results) and progress on production, delivery and deployment of vaccines. They will work further on developing a common EU approach to the gradual lifting of restrictions and refer to global solidarity ...

One year after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the fight against the virus will again top the agenda of the European Council meeting on 25-26 March 2021. EU leaders are expected to focus their discussions on ‘digital green certificates’ (providing proof of vaccination and/or Covid-19 test results) and progress on production, delivery and deployment of vaccines. They will work further on developing a common EU approach to the gradual lifting of restrictions and refer to global solidarity. Other agenda points are digitalisation, including digital taxation, the single market and industrial policy. In respect of external relations, EU leaders will review the situation in the eastern Mediterranean and hold a strategic discussion on Russia. The subsequent Euro Summit will discuss the international role of the euro.

Addressing the VAT gap in the EU

17-12-2020

Among indirect taxes, value added tax (VAT) has the highest share in the Member States' indirect taxation revenues and is an important source of income for the EU budget too. Therefore, estimations and actions to narrow the difference between expected and actual VAT revenues – the VAT gap – are important. According to the European Commission, the EU VAT gap stood at €140 billion in 2018 and could fall below €130 billion in 2019. However, Covid-19-related containment measures have hurt Member States ...

Among indirect taxes, value added tax (VAT) has the highest share in the Member States' indirect taxation revenues and is an important source of income for the EU budget too. Therefore, estimations and actions to narrow the difference between expected and actual VAT revenues – the VAT gap – are important. According to the European Commission, the EU VAT gap stood at €140 billion in 2018 and could fall below €130 billion in 2019. However, Covid-19-related containment measures have hurt Member States' economies and eroded the VAT base. As a result, the VAT gap may reach over €164 billion in 2020. A broad VAT gap requires urgent action for improving voluntary compliance, achieving better administrative cooperation and enhancing the performance of national tax administrations. Recent EU legislative initiatives have addressed these needs, while also seeking to adapt the VAT system to the challenges of the modern economy. The VAT e-commerce package applicable from 2021 is a good example of these efforts. Another is the adoption in July 2020 of a tax package aimed to combat tax fraud. The package includes a Tax action plan, a communication on 'Good Tax Governance' and a proposal to amend Directive 2011/16/EU on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation. The European Union is a global leader in the digitalisation of VAT compliance, and its work on drawing up the legislative framework for applying VAT in the digital economy spans a number of years. Noteworthy is the requirement for non-EU businesses providing digital services to private consumers in the EU Member States to register for VAT and charge VAT based on destination, which set an example to emulate by other non-EU countries.

Taxation of the digital economy: Latest developments

15-12-2020

There is an important ongoing debate on the direct and indirect taxation of the digital economy. Proposals on digital taxes, which are under negotiation in the OECD, are inter-linked with European Commission proposals on the same subject. As the Council did not reach an agreement on the Commission proposal for a digital services tax, national initiatives appeared in the interim until a global solution in the area of direct taxation could be found in the OECD. On 1 December 2020, the Council endorsed ...

There is an important ongoing debate on the direct and indirect taxation of the digital economy. Proposals on digital taxes, which are under negotiation in the OECD, are inter-linked with European Commission proposals on the same subject. As the Council did not reach an agreement on the Commission proposal for a digital services tax, national initiatives appeared in the interim until a global solution in the area of direct taxation could be found in the OECD. On 1 December 2020, the Council endorsed the text of amendments to the Directive on Administrative Cooperation between the Member States (known as DAC7), which will oblige digital platform operators to provide information on the operations they intermediate. If an agreement is not achieved at global level by July 2021, it could trigger an EU response in the form of a digital levy. There is also a debate on whether that levy should be similar to the Commission proposal that failed to get political backing or not.

Digital taxation: State of play and way forward

19-03-2020

The digitalisation of the economy and society poses new tax policy challenges. One of the main questions is how to correctly capture value and tax businesses characterised by a reliance on intangible assets, no or insignificant physical presence in the tax jurisdictions where commercial activities are carried out (scale without mass), and a considerable user role in value creation. Current tax rules are struggling to cope with the emerging realities of these new economic models. The European Union ...

The digitalisation of the economy and society poses new tax policy challenges. One of the main questions is how to correctly capture value and tax businesses characterised by a reliance on intangible assets, no or insignificant physical presence in the tax jurisdictions where commercial activities are carried out (scale without mass), and a considerable user role in value creation. Current tax rules are struggling to cope with the emerging realities of these new economic models. The European Union (EU) and other international bodies have been discussing these issues for some time. In March 2018, the EU introduced a 'fair taxation of the digital economy' package. It contained proposals for an interim and long-term digital tax. The European Parliament supported both proposals, widening their scope and coverage and backing integration of digital tax into the proposed Council framework on corporate taxation. However, there was no immediate political agreement in the Council. As finding a global solution at Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) level or a coordinated EU approach was not yet feasible, some Member States started implementing or designing national digital taxes. As an indication of difficulties around this issue, the introduction of these taxes in France heightened trade tensions between the EU and the United States of America, with the latter favouring a 'voluntary' tax system – a position which may prevent a global agreement. Over the last few years, the OECD has nevertheless made progress on developing a global solution and proposed a two-pillar system: while the first pillar (unified approach) would grant new taxation rights and review the current profit allocation and business location-taxation rules, the second (GloBE) aims to mitigate risks stemming from the practices of profit-shifting to jurisdictions where they can be subjected to no, or very low, taxation. The EU is committed to supporting the OECD's work, but if no solution is found by the end of 2020, it will again make a proposal for its own digital tax.

Commitments made at the hearing of Paolo GENTILONI, Commissioner-designate - Economy

22-11-2019

The commissioner-designate, Paolo Gentiloni, appeared before the European Parliament on 03 October 2019 to answer questions from MEPs in the Committees on Economic and Monetary Affairs and on Budgets. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission and include economic and financial affairs, fair and ...

The commissioner-designate, Paolo Gentiloni, appeared before the European Parliament on 03 October 2019 to answer questions from MEPs in the Committees on Economic and Monetary Affairs and on Budgets. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission and include economic and financial affairs, fair and effective taxation and a strong and modern Customs Union.

Understanding BEPS: From tax avoidance to digital tax challenges

21-10-2019

Action to fight corporate tax avoidance has been deemed necessary in the OECD forum and has received further impetus through the G20/OECD Base erosion and profit shifting action plan (known as BEPS). The 2015 BEPS action plan has 15 actions, covering elements used in corporate tax-avoidance practices and aggressive tax-planning schemes. The implementation of the BEPS action plan was designed to be flexible, as a consequence of its adoption by consensus. Recommendations made in BEPS reports range ...

Action to fight corporate tax avoidance has been deemed necessary in the OECD forum and has received further impetus through the G20/OECD Base erosion and profit shifting action plan (known as BEPS). The 2015 BEPS action plan has 15 actions, covering elements used in corporate tax-avoidance practices and aggressive tax-planning schemes. The implementation of the BEPS action plan was designed to be flexible, as a consequence of its adoption by consensus. Recommendations made in BEPS reports range from minimum standards to guidelines, as well as putting in place an instrument to modify the provisions of tax treaties related to BEPS practices. In addition, putting BEPS actions into practice has involved a growing number of countries, so as to provide a more inclusive framework able to involve more countries beyond the OECD and G20 members, and build on cooperation between international organisations. The application of BEPS actions and their follow-up involves issues that remain to be implemented or addressed. Here come in particular issues beyond the avoidance techniques that were addressed in the BEPS action plan, starting with addressing tax challenges of the digital economy, building on the BEPS action1 report that defined a calendar for providing an adaptation of international tax rules to the impact of digitalisation. Based on several intermediary reports, the OECD/G20 inclusive framework on BEPS issued a work programme to develop a consensus solution to the tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy. Endorsed in June 2019 by the G20, this programme outlines the steps for modernising international tax rules. An annex to this document outlines the different international fora and instruments relevant to BEPS actions and the countries or organisations that participate in them or apply them. This briefing updates an earlier edition (PE 607.288), of June 2017.

The European Council and the completion of the single market

21-03-2019

When will the EU’s single market be complete? See how the Heads of State or Government pushed for the completion of the single market, digital single market and capital markets union.

When will the EU’s single market be complete? See how the Heads of State or Government pushed for the completion of the single market, digital single market and capital markets union.

Impact of Digitalisation on International Tax Matters

15-02-2019

This paper was prepared by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3) to discuss tax challenges posed by digitalisation, especially regarding new business models and value creation process, the impact of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) actions, unilateral measures and recent tax developments in the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) while evaluating alternative approaches to reform the international tax system ...

This paper was prepared by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3) to discuss tax challenges posed by digitalisation, especially regarding new business models and value creation process, the impact of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) actions, unilateral measures and recent tax developments in the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) while evaluating alternative approaches to reform the international tax system and highlighting difficulties and opportunities presented by Blockchain and collaborative economy for international taxation.

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Eli Hadzhieva

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, December 2018

14-12-2018

The December plenary session was marked by the terrorist attack that took place in Strasbourg on 11 December. Members had that very day debated the report of Parliament's Special Committee on Terrorism, concluding its year's work. The December plenary session also featured debates on the preparations for the same week's European Council and Euro Summit meetings, as well as on the future of Europe, with Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus. Parliament awarded the 2018 Sakharov Prize for freedom ...

The December plenary session was marked by the terrorist attack that took place in Strasbourg on 11 December. Members had that very day debated the report of Parliament's Special Committee on Terrorism, concluding its year's work. The December plenary session also featured debates on the preparations for the same week's European Council and Euro Summit meetings, as well as on the future of Europe, with Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus. Parliament awarded the 2018 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought to the imprisoned Ukrainian filmmaker, Oleg Sentsov, and adopted a report on the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Parliament adopted the EU's 2019 budget, and held debates and voted on proposals on a digital services tax; risk assessment in the food chain; risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work; revision of the statutes of three EU agencies; as well as an own initiative legislative report on expedited settlement of commercial disputes. Finally, Parliament adopted positions on seven of the three dozen proposed funding programmes for the 2021-2027 period, enabling negotiations with the Council to be launched.

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