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CIOT Backs Calls For European Taxpayer Code

by Robert Lee,, London

03 June 2013

The UK's Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has welcomed plans for a European Taxpayer's Code, backing the concept as one that can improve compliance and enhance confidence in tax systems.

Proposals for a code were included in the European Commission's Action Plan on tax fraud and evasion, released last December. According to the CIOT, the eventual model adopted is unlikely to be significantly different to the Model Taxpayers Charter it recently published in conjunction with the Confédération Fiscale Européenne (CFE), the Asia-Oceania Tax Consultants Association (AOTCA) and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). The Charter contains a blueprint of the rights and responsibilities that a "good tax system" should contain.

Jeremy Woolf, Chair of the CIOTs European Union (EU) & Human Rights sub-committee, suggests that "the most effective use of time and resources would be to engage with the Confédération Fiscale Européenne, as the European body spearheading the Model Taxpayer Charter; it is through collaboration and consultation, with this body in particular, that a final product will be achieved."

The CIOT is however concerned about the potential impact of a parallel Commission recommendation for an EU-wide system of taxpayer identification numbers (TINs). The Commission contends that "the creation of an EU TIN might constitute the best solution to overcome the current difficulties faced by member states in properly identifying all their taxpayers (natural and non-natural persons) engaged in cross border operations."

Submitting a response to a Commission survey on the plans, the CIOT points out that while many member states already use TINs, others, including the UK, do not. Woolf warns that this could have implications for civil liberties, and that the "sheer cost and administrative burden of a new system would outweigh any increase in the amount of tax collected."

He believes that, going forward, the Commission should concentrate on the development of the EU portal, and on the better use of existing TINs.

TAGS: compliance | tax | European Commission | tax incentives | revenue guidance | United Kingdom | enforcement | tax authority | tax planning | tax rates | tax reform | standards | regulation | European Union (EU) | Europe

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