european union


EU Changes Excise Duty Rules On Alcohol

Posted on July 1st, by Global Tax Weekly in Duties. No Comments

EU member states have reached a provisional agreement on modernized taxation rules for alcohol products, following a meeting held on June 24, at which member states’ ambassadors to the EU provisionally endorsed proposals to update the excise duty rules on alcohol within the EU.

Since 1992, EU countries have had in place common rules to ensure that excise duties are applied in the same way and to the same products everywhere in the EU. These rules include minimum excise duty rates. The reform package will extend the special regime of reduced excise duty rates for small beer and ethyl alcohol producers to producers of other fermented drinks, such as cider. It will increase the threshold for lower strength beer that can benefit from reduced rates from 2.8 percent volume to 3.5 percent volume, with the aim of incentivizing consumers to choose … Read More »


European Commission Announces Economic Recovery Plan

Posted on June 5th, by Global Tax Weekly in E-commerce. No Comments

Digital tax matters were on the table for the European Commission, which has published an economic recovery plan (as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic), which includes a possible digital tax, a crackdown on tax fraud, in addition to revisiting its proposals for a common consolidated corporate tax base.

The Commission intends to borrow EUR750bn on the financial markets to fund the package. To repay these funds, the Commission will propose a number of new “own resources.”

According to the EC plan, options for reform could include a new digital tax on companies with global annual turnover over EUR750bn, which could raise an estimated EUR1.3bn per year, and a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, which could take the form of a tax on imports to the European Union that do not face environmental levies equal to the EU’s in their country … Read More »


EU Announces VAT Compliance Changes

Posted on March 5th, by Global Tax Weekly in Sales Tax. No Comments

The European Union has finalized regulations to complete the legislative framework for e-commerce reforms that will be implemented from 2021.

A new Regulation provides details for registration in the VAT One Stop Shop, including the Import One Stop Shop, and for the VAT One Stop Shop return.

Under plans initially approved by the Economic and Financial Affairs Council in November 2017, the EU will extend the existing mini one-stop shop (MOSS) from January 1, 2021.

MOSS was introduced alongside reforms in January 1, 2015, to simplify VAT compliance for firms that faced new rules obligating them to collect VAT on business-to-consumer (B2C) supplies of broadcasting, telecommunications, and electronic (BTE) services based on the location of the consumer, rather than the supplier.

MOSS is to be expanded from 2021 into a “One Stop Shop” (OSS), which will cover:

All B2C supplies of services, including by non-EU … Read More »


EU Expands List Of Non-Cooperative Tax Jurisdictions

Posted on March 2nd, by Global Tax Weekly in Offshore. No Comments

On February 18, the EU revealed that it has added the Cayman Islands, Palau, Panama, and the Seychelles to its list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, bringing the total tally to 12 from 8.

The European Council, which agreed the additions, stated that these jurisdictions had failed to implement the tax reforms to which they had committed by the agreed deadline; most commitments delivered upon by third-country jurisdictions involved a deadline of the end of 2019.

The Council also reported that it had amended its “grey list”, of jurisdictions cooperating with the EU to amend their tax systems. In light of their implementation of reforms in compliance with EU tax good governance principles within the required timeframe, the following jurisdictions have been removed from the grey list: Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Cabo Verde, the … Read More »


Many EU Member States Fail To Implement VAT Fixes

Posted on February 10th, by Global Tax Weekly in Sales Tax. No Comments

Infringement proceedings have been launched against 14 EU member states for failing to implement the so-called value-added tax quick fixes.

The VAT quick fixes were included in Council Directive (EU) 2018/1910 of December 4, 2018. They are intended to simplify VAT compliance for businesses and strengthen and harmonize existing EU rules ahead of the introduction of more comprehensive reforms to EU VAT law scheduled for 2021.

The four short-term measures provide:

That the VAT identification number of the customer, allocated by a member state other than that in which dispatch or transport of the goods began, should constitute an additional substantive condition for the application of the exemption in respect of an intra-Community supply of goods.
For more uniform rules when determining the VAT treatment of chain transactions, including triangular transactions, clarifying in particular which party should benefit from zero-rated treatment;
New VAT rules for … Read More »


EU Makes Contingency Plans for “No Deal” Brexit

Posted on April 8th, by Global Tax Weekly in Business. No Comments

As I write, we’re still largely none the wiser about the UK’s future relationship with the EU. But if there’s one conclusion that can be drawn from all this, it’s that the Mother of Parliaments might be ready for a makeover. The British constitution, largely unwritten, and famous for its flexibility and adaptability, has coped with many past national emergencies. But it’s no exaggeration to say that the constitution’s elasticity is being stretched to breaking point by Brexit. What’s more, it’s difficult to know who’s in charge now – the Government? MPs? Speaker Bercow? The Downing Street cat? Anyone? No-one?

Understandably, now is not really the right time for Britain to have a debate on constitutional reform, given that the nation is already in the throes of a collective nervous breakdown. Such a thing would also be a turmoil too far … Read More »


European Digital Tax Plans Gather Speed

Posted on March 16th, by Global Tax Weekly in E-commerce. No Comments

France’s digital tax is going full steam ahead after Le Maire officially unveiled legislation for a three percent revenue tax, along similar lines to that proposed by the European Commission last year. But you’ll need a time machine to actually get on board, as the timetable says it starts on January 1, 2019. Meanwhile, Spain’s digital tax appears to be grinding to a halt due to problems with the legislative machinery. Parliament’s rejection of the 2019 Budget and the calling of fresh elections, to be held in May 2019, may even derail it.

I think Italy’s digital tax remains on track, but until the Government fleshes out the proposals, we only have a vague idea where it’s going and when it will get there. The UK at least signaled well ahead of time that its digital tax will commence in 2020, … Read More »


Nike Under Scrutiny By The European Commission

Posted on January 16th, by Global Tax Weekly in Corporation Tax. No Comments

Nike is the latest multinational company to become embroiled in the European Commission’s tax ruling/transfer pricing/state aid investigations. It’s probably unlikely to be the last, either.

It’s my view these investigations aren’t about upholding the state aid rules. They’re about the EU being seen to be doing something about corporate tax avoidance. Because the trouble is it’s highly likely that the tax arrangements in question are perfectly above board. So it’s on shaky legal ground from the off.

For the EU, the probes will have likely damaged its reputation as a place to do business, as for businesses the impact of these cases is less to do with tax breaks and tax avoidance as to do with tax certainty. While we can argue all year long about the rights and wrongs of corporate tax planning, corporations like to know not only what’s … Read More »


EU Digital Tax Plans Coming Unstuck

Posted on December 17th, by Global Tax Weekly in E-commerce. No Comments

Last week, Kevin Brady, Chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, issued a statement welcoming the “abandonment” of the European Union’s proposed digital services tax. However, I think that was a piece of wishful thinking on the Texas Republican’s part. The EU rarely abandons anything, least of all high priority tax initiatives. I refer you to the common consolidated corporate tax base (currently gridlocked) and the financial transaction tax (back from the dead).

However, that France, Germany, and Austria (which currently holds the EU presidency) were last week prepared to accept a watered-down digital tax proposal in return for an agreement was an indication of just how strongly certain member states (notably Ireland, Sweden, and Denmark) oppose the idea, and therefore just how unlikely it is to be implemented in its original form.

The compromise text argued that the … Read More »


EU Interim Digital Tax Approaches

Posted on October 18th, by Global Tax Weekly in E-commerce. No Comments

There’ll be a digital tax by Christmas, proclaimed European Commissioner for Taxation Pierre Moscovici last week. Perhaps he needs to brush up on his history. We’ve heard such bold claims in previous eras. For example, they said that World War One would be all over by Christmas. And it was. Christmas 1918, not Christmas 1914.

Nevertheless, as Christmas 2018 approaches, digital taxation is dominating the international tax agenda. Indeed, it’s somewhat like listening to children excitedly discussing their chances of receiving the next new-fangled toy or gadget in their Christmas stockings this year – every government now seems to want a digital tax! The Spanish Government just added one to its 2019 Budget wish list; the UK isn’t quite sure yet whether it really needs a digital tax, but it certainly would like one; and at the beginning of October, the … Read More »





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