Saturday 1 October 2016

Plan for EU-wide PPS number sparks fears of new 'Euro tax'

Published 29/05/2016 | 02:30

'The so-called European Taxpayer Identification number is seen by Eurosceptics as a precursor to a European tax.' Stock photo: Getty
'The so-called European Taxpayer Identification number is seen by Eurosceptics as a precursor to a European tax.' Stock photo: Getty

MEPs on the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee have approved a plan to introduce the EU equivalent of a PPS number.

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The so-called European Taxpayer Identification number is seen by Eurosceptics as a precursor to a European tax. Supporters of the plan say it would make exchanging tax information more efficient.

The document asks the European Commission to initiate legislation for the proposal. A Department of Finance spokesperson said Ireland is in principle supportive of measures to improve the automatic exchange of tax information. "If the Commission was to bring forward such a proposal, we would need to study the detail of the proposal before coming to a position on it," the spokesperson said.

Also in the document - produced as part of the Commission's plan for an anti-tax avoidance directive - is a proposal to set a minimum corporation tax rate of 15pc on foreign income.

"If earnings are taxed in one country outside the EU and then transferred to an EU member state, this so-called foreign income is often exempt from taxation," a ­Committee spokesman said. "The Commission proposes this exemption should be denied if the foreign income was taxed at a rate lower than 40pc of the national rate.

"MEPs favour setting a ­minimum rate of 15pc - that is, if foreign income was taxed at a lower rate outside the EU, then the exemption would have to be refused and the difference would need to be paid."

Michael Noonan expressed concern about the concept of minimum effective taxation to EU finance ministers.

"Member States must be free to set their own tax rates and while the Directive is not directly aimed at requiring a minimum rate of tax to be charged, care is needed to ensure any text agreed in the Directive does not infringe on this sovereign right," the Department spokesperson said.

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