Monday

17th Jan 2022

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

Covid variants put Schengen under pressure

The EU Commission also raised concerns about the proportionality of Belgium's ban on non-essential travel, for people wishing to leave the country.

News in Brief

  1. French parliament agrees stricter vaccine-pass system
  2. US speaks to energy firms about EU gas cut-off scenario
  3. Anti-vax protests held in the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria
  4. German MEP spends €690,000 on office renovation
  5. Microsoft identified destructive malware in Ukraine agencies
  6. Danish intelligence crisis deepens
  7. Hackers expose Polish military secrets
  8. Swedish soldiers might leave Sahel due to Russian fighters

Opinion

Europe must plot its own course on China

Given China's size and interconnectedness with Europe, a strategic policy of non-engagement hardly deserves the label "strategic".

Vietnam jails journalist critical of EU trade deal

A journalist who had demanded the EU postpone its trade deal with Vietnam until human rights improved has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. The EU Commission says it first needs to conduct a detailed analysis before responding.

Latest News

  1. James Kanter, Shada Islam are new editors at EUobserver
  2. The loopholes and low bar in Macron's push for a global tax
  3. No love for Russia in latest EU strategy
  4. New EU Parliament chief elected This WEEK
  5. Lead MEP now wants ETS opt-out for homes and private cars
  6. MEPs seek probe into EU commissioner over Bosnia
  7. EU's Borrell contradicts Germany on Russia gas pipeline
  8. It's time for a more geopolitical EU-Turkey cooperation

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us