Weekly Tax News – 9 July 2018

Austria to push for EU digital tax

On 3 July 2018, the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz reaffirmed the commitment of the Austrian Presidency of the Council to push for a digital tax on tech revenues. During the presentation of Austria’s agenda for the coming six months to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Kurz confirmed his support to “the European Union’s idea of an equalisation tax on turnover for internet giants, as such a measure would contribute to greater equality of opportunities and fairer competition for European companies as well”.

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European Parliament adopts the report on VAT administrative cooperation

On 3 July 2018, the European Parliament adopted the report of Roberts Zīle (ECR, Latvia) on the proposed regulation on administrative cooperation in the fight against VAT fraud. The amendments included by the ECON committee to the Commission’s proposal are in the sense of strengthening the exchange of information between the Member States, that should implement a set of operational targets for reducing the percentage of late replies and improving the quality of requests for information. Furthermore, the approved report stresses that it is vital to introduce a two-way information exchange between Eurofisc and Europol, where Eurofisc working field coordinators may ask Europol and OLAF for relevant information. Finally, the report proposes the establishment of a common system of collecting statistics on intra-Community VAT fraud and the publication of national estimates of VAT losses resulting from that fraud, as well as estimates for the Union as a whole.

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Greens/EFA group report on Austrian tax practices

On 2 July 2018, the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament welcomed the Austrian Presidency of the Council by publishing a report accusing Austria to be a safe heaven for tax evaders. In particular, the report highlights that Austria was one of the strongest opponents of tax cooperation in the EU. Furthermore, the report states that the country is attracting business investment via harmful tax incentives and loopholes in its double taxation treaties with countries such as Brazil and Cyprus. Finally, the report notes that the program of the Austrian Presidency does not mention two important files: Public Country-By-Country Reporting and the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB).

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ECOFIN Report on the progress made during the Bulgarian Presidency

The ECOFIN has reported back to the European Council on the main progresses made in the area of taxation during the term of the Bulgarian Presidency. The report shows the attention given by the Bulgarian Presidency to the taxation of the digital economy, that resulted in the preparation of a roadmap (annexed to the report). Furthermore, in the area of direct taxation, during the mandate of the Bulgarian Presidency the Council has adopted the Council Directive on mandatory automatic exchange of information in relation to reportable cross-border arrangements (DAC 6) and has reached an agreement to voluntarily evaluate the impact of the CCTB proposal on national corporate tax revenues. In the field of indirect taxation, during these six months the Council has reached a general approach on the Council Regulation (EU) No. 904/2010 to strengthen administrative cooperation in the field of VAT, authorised the agreement between the EU and Norway on the same topic and adopted the amendments to the Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of VAT as regards the obligation to respect a minimum standard rate.

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