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Hellenic EU Presidency Outlines Priorities

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

14 January 2014

Greece will press for the extension of automatic information exchange procedures as part of its six month European Union (EU) Presidency.

According to a document released by the Presidency, the new holder will "draw guidance from the efforts of previous Presidencies to develop fairer tax systems, reinforce the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion, and, in relation to third countries, promote the exchange of best practices, avoid harmful tax practices and exploit the full benefits of the internal market."

In this context, Greece will seek a political agreement on the Directive of Administrative Cooperation for the extension of automatic exchange in early 2014. It will pursue the adoption of the revised savings tax directive by March, and continue the office's work on the Directive on a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base and the Parent-Subsidiary Directive.

Also high on the agenda are plans to finalize negotiations for a Directive on the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by large European companies and groups. The proposed Directive will include rules on country-by-country reporting, with the aim of cracking down on tax evasion.

Most controversially, perhaps, the Presidency will press ahead with the European Commission's proposals for a financial transaction tax (FTT), through the enhanced cooperation procedure. A tobin tax will "ensure that the financial sector makes a fair contribution to the costs of the [economic] crisis," the Presidency says.

With regard to indirect taxation, Greece has pledged to progress discussions on the value-added tax (VAT) treatment of vouchers and standardized VAT returns, "in order to simplify the VAT system and reduce the cost for enterprises and tax administrations."

The Presidency will draw to a close on June 30.

TAGS: compliance | tax | European Commission | tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) | tax compliance | tax avoidance | tax incentives | tobin tax | agreements | tax planning | tax rates | Greece | tax breaks | tax reform | European Union (EU) | Europe | Tax | Tax Evasion

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