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Press Ahead With Tax Plans, Šemeta Urges New EU Presidency

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

11 July 2014

European Tax Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta has called on the new Italian Presidency to ensure that progress is made on a number of tax initiatives, ranging from value-added tax (VAT) rules to anti-avoidance schemes, and from proposals for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) to plans for a financial transactions tax (FTT).

Šemeta make the comments during an ECOFIN press conference in Brussels.

He urged Italy to continue with plans for a Standard Declaration on VAT, which he said offers enormous savings to businesses and administrations. He wants to see an agreement reached on this before the end of the year, and rules in place on the VAT treatment of vouchers before new regulations on the place of supply come into effect in 2015.

Šemeta welcomed the Presidency's stated intention to hold an orientation debate on the CCCTB at Ministerial level. He stressed that stock must be taken of three years worth of technical talks on the plans. In spite of the importance attached to the CCCTB, Šemeta nevertheless hopes to see priority accorded to discussions on an FTT under enhanced cooperation. Participating European Union (EU) member states need to agree on the implementation on the first steps toward a broad based tax before the end of 2014, he said.

The Commissioner anticipates that the Italian Presidency will have a crucial role to play in "coordinating, defining and driving forward the EU position at a global level on the base erosion and profit shifting project." Member states must be well coordinated in this context, and Šemeta considers ECOFIN's formal adoption of an amendment to the Parent-Subsidy Directive as "a good step forward." Negotiations are still underway on general anti-abuse provisions and a pending Interest and Royalty proposal.

Italy aims to secure a political agreement on the revision of the Energy Taxation Directive. While recognizing that "it will take concessions by all parties to successfully complete them," Šemeta is anxious that "any compromise should add value to the current Directive, and it certainly must not lead to any dis-harmonization of energy taxation in the EU."

Šemeta concluded by expressing his "every confidence in the Italian Presidency's ability to deliver good progress in EU tax policy over the next six months."

TAGS: compliance | tax | business | European Commission | value added tax (VAT) | tax compliance | tax avoidance | tax incentives | revenue guidance | energy | corporation tax | group taxation | tax planning | tax rates | Italy | tax reform | regulation | European Union (EU) | Europe | Tax | Tax Evasion

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