Thursday 20 July 2017

Objections by six states deliver blow to EU tax proposal

Brian Hayes
Brian Hayes

Sean Duffy

Parliaments in six countries have opposed the European Commission's proposals for a common tax base across the European Union, according to Irish MEP Brian Hayes.

The Commission announced details of a planned common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) in October. The idea is to apply a universal tax code for all multinationals operating inside the EU earning in excess of €750m.

Mr Hayes believes the seven objections show that "governments have a stronger mandate from their elected representatives going into negotiations".

"These seven national parliaments, including the Houses of the Oireachtas, have issued formal objections to the European Commission clearly stating that the CCCTB proposal does not meet the principles of subsidiarity," Mr Hayes said.

The proposal was objected to by the Irish, Swedish, Danish, Maltese, Luxembourgish and two chambers of the Dutch Parliament.

The prospect of CCCTB being passed now looks increasingly unlikely given the significant block of countries opposed to the legislation. Any changes to EU tax codes requires the agreement of all 28 member states. Ireland's position is likely to be bolstered by the views of the opposition of other EU states.

A block of member states could still push ahead with a limited version of the scheme under so-called enhanced cooperation structures, in which a subset of countries can adapt shared rules. However, the prospect of an EU wide shake-up now appears to be fading. The CCCTB proposals would effectively remove Ireland's right to determine taxation rates, Mr Hayes said.

"Consolidation of the tax base represents wide-scale tax harmonisation through the back door. It cuts across how states set their tax corporate rates and policy and is a cumbersome way of addressing cross-border tax losses," he added.

Commission spokesperson for taxation Vanessa Mock said that "have received seven reasoned opinions from the parliaments of Member States, representing 12 votes from a possible 56".

"This is normal for any legislation that the Commission puts forward. The reception of reasoned opinions does not mean that there will be difficulty agreeing legislation in the Council. These are the views of national parliaments and their committees. Not those of Member States themselves."

"The CCCTB is fully in line with the principle of subsidiarity. The legal base is Art. 115 TFEU – improving the functioning of the Single Market," she told independent.ie.

"The CCCTB is all about removing obstacles to the Single Market for businesses, which is not something that can be done at purely national level. It is also about tackling the complex cross-border problem of tax avoidance, which Member States cannot combat alone.

"The Commission responded in detail to all Member States that raised this issue in relation to the 2011 proposal. No Member State objected to our response." 

Irish Independent

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