Wednesday

20th Feb 2019

Semeta urges Irish action on EU tax files

EU tax commissioner Algirdas Semeta has called on the Irish presidency to break the log-jam on proposed EU tax legislation, while saying that Brussels has no plans to harmonise national tax rates.

Speaking to the Irish parliament's finance committee in Dublin on Thursday (10 January), Semeta called on Ireland to push for a deal on several controversial EU taxation files during its six month EU chairmanship, including the savings tax directive, the common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) and the financial transactions tax (FTT) - all of which have met with opposition in national capitals.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Ireland is not among the 11 member states that will use the FTT, but its civil servants will be charged with brokering an EU deal.

It has also been among the countries to reject any attempts to harmonise corporate taxation, claiming that increasing business taxes would jeopardise its fragile economy.

EU tax competition remains a thorny issue in Ireland.

At 12.5 percent, Ireland's corporation tax rate is one of the lowest in the EU, with France and Germany among a group of countries pushing for a harmonised rate across the bloc.

There were also suggestions in early 2012 that increasing the corporate tax rate could form part of the Irish bailout package in exchange for an interest rate cut on debt repayments.

Earlier this week, Irish employment minister John Bruton repeated that the corporate tax rate is a "red-line issue" and that the government would resist any pressure to increase it.

Although the commission proposal would only apply on a voluntary basis for five years and does not specify what rate should be levied, Irish leader Enda Kenny has described the CCCTB proposal as tax harmonisation "by the back door."

Under the EU proposal, companies would be allowed to submit one centralised tax return across all EU countries in which they operate.

Their taxable profits would then be split between the member states they operate in, according to the size of their profits in each country, which would retain the right to set their own rate of tax.

Supporters of the plan say it would reduce costs and administrative burdens for businesses operating across a number of countries.

"The day of isolated tax policy is over. Coming closer together as a Union on tax matters does not threaten member states' sovereignty," Semeta noted on Thursday.

He noted the CCCTB would not affect tax rates, reiterating that it "has nothing to do with tax rates, and Ireland has nothing to fear in this regard."

"Member states must remain free to set rates and this flexibility allows a healthy degree of tax competition to be maintained," he added.

Commission - EU must combat €1tn tax dodging

EU countries must apply common tax rules to combat tax havens and loopholes allowing businesses to avoid corporation tax, according to new proposals released on Thursday by the European Commission.

Tax property not work, governments told

Governments should tax property and consumption ahead of income according to the Commission's 2013 Annual Growth Survey published on Wednesday.

Ireland on the defensive in Apple tax row

Ireland has come under fire for its low-tax regime amid US revelations that Apple and other large corporations are using EU-based subsidiaries to avoid paying taxes.

Top five EU states push for tax transparency

France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK have agreed new measures to fight tax fraud, putting pressure on Austria and Luxembourg to stop blocking an EU-level law.

News in Brief

  1. British PM to batter against EU wall on Brexit
  2. Hungary and Slovakia break EU line on Jerusalem
  3. Germany and France to overhaul EU competition law
  4. Estonia kicks out Danske Bank over money laundering scandal
  5. May and Juncker meet over Brexit on Wednesday
  6. EU promises to open up advisory groups
  7. EU agrees to limit CO2 emissions by trucks
  8. Juncker under attack in Hungary government ad

Opinion

Eastern Europe Matters

The foreign ministers of Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic reflect on 10 years of the Eastern Partnership with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. 'No evidence' ECB bond-buying helped euro economy
  2. Juncker: Orban should leave Europe's centre-right
  3. College of Europe alumni ask rector to cut Saudi ties
  4. EU says Hungary's anti-Juncker campaign is fake news
  5. Trump right for once: Europe should take back foreign fighters
  6. EU should clarify rules for plant burgers and lab meat
  7. Italian populists could be second biggest force in EU parliament
  8. Merkel defends Russia ties, ridicules Trump on cars

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us