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Among the biggest concerns for taxpayers in Europe's capital markets is the question of whether or not a financial transaction tax (FTT) will go ahead and in what form.

Since the European Commission put forward its proposals for an FTT last year, 11 EU member states have signed up to introduce the new tax. Supporters say it will provide vast sums of money with minuscule rates while constraining the kinds of risky transactions that caused the financial crisis. Financial institutions and their advisers, however, fear it will hit Europe's banking sector hard and drive transactions abroad.

There has been much speculation recently over whether the FTT will be watered down or delayed because of rumoured disagreements between member states on its scope.

The latest word from the Commission, however, asserts that the FTT is still on course and discussions are still taking place at a technical level.

"The 11 member states have shown that they are still fully committed to the harmonised approach to the FTT," a Commission spokeswoman told International Tax Review. "Obviously, with such a complex and sensitive proposal, the technical work takes time and there are many different ideas, views and suggestions on how to reach a compromise amongst the 11 member states."

Taxpayers, then, should continue to prepare for the FTT.

The FTT is one of a number of key topics covered in International Tax Review's Capital Markets 2013 supplement, with Ernst & Young writing on its development, its consequences for capital markets, and what changes may be made to the final legislation before it sees adoption.

Another key topic affecting taxpayers in the capital markets this year is the issue of transparency. In this supplement, PwC looks at the new EU tax transparency requirements and the impact they will have on credit institutions.

Also in this supplement we have Taxpartner – Taxand discussing leveraged takeovers in Switzerland, KPMG writing about the Swedish tax implications of insurance-linked securities, and Arthur Cox looking at property investment structures in Ireland.

The last few years have been a difficult time for capital markets. But with plenty of developments on the horizon, we hope you find this supplement a useful guide to the year ahead.

Salman Shaheen


International Tax Review

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