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EU Tackles Single Market Tax Obstacles

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

14 April 2014

Two public consultations, an expert group, and new web pages have been launched as part of a follow up to earlier reviews by the European Commission into discriminatory tax rules affecting individuals in European Union (EU) member states.

The measures are intended to contribute to efforts to remove tax obstacles that hinder the cross-border economic activities of individuals within the Single Market.

An estimated 14.1 million EU citizens – a figure equivalent to 2.8 percent of the total EU population – reside in a member state other than their own. Almost 30 percent of EU citizens purchase offline and online goods from businesses based in other member states. According to the Commission, persons in these situations may face complex tax declaration obligations in more than one member state, and potentially double taxation.

The newly created expert group has been appointed to look principally at elements of direct taxation that may affect an individual's cross-border activities. In particular, it will focus on personal income and inheritance taxation, but will consider other charges, including taxes on vehicles and commerce, if deemed necessary. Sessions are to run throughout this year.

The first of the two consultations covers tax problems faced by citizens who are active across borders. It includes questions on the challenges faced by individuals who work or invest in other member states, and reviews measures already in place to support tax compliance. The other consultation concentrates on inheritance taxation. Both consultations will run until July 3, 2014.

Commenting on the initiative, Tax Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta said: "The strength of the European Union relies on people being able to move freely within the Single Market to work, study and retire. It is essential that everyone is tax compliant, but tax compliance must be made easy too. This needs particular attention in cross-border situations, where double taxation must be eliminated."

TAGS: individuals | inheritance tax | compliance | tax | business | European Commission | tax compliance | tax incentives | revenue guidance | commerce | tax credits | tax planning | tax breaks | revenue statistics | tax reform | individual income tax | European Union (EU) | Europe | Tax | Tax Evasion

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