|Bob van der Made|
On January 11 2016, EU Tax Commissioner Moscovici told Members of the European Parliament that: "2016 should be the year of corporate tax reform and fiscal transparency".
Indeed, direct tax policy-making is expected to be a very hot topic in 2016 for multinational companies doing business in Europe, within the context of:
- Implementation in national legislation of the OECD BEPS recommendations agreed in October 2015 and further BEPS work in 2016;
- The European Commission's legislative and non-legislative initiatives against 'aggressive' tax planning, tax avoidance and tax evasion, in the framework of its March 18 2015 EU Transparency Package, its complementary June 17 2015 EU Action Plan for Fair and Effective Taxation, and its expected January 27 2016 EU anti-corporate tax avoidance package including proposals for the conversion of the BEPS recommendations into EU law (a proposed new EU 'Anti-BEPS Directive') and a coordinated approach to implementing good tax governance standards internationally;
- The EU fiscal state aid investigations on the use of tax rulings concerning the application of the transfer pricing rules and the arm's-length standard. It is noteworthy that the Commission in its press release on its final state aid decision on the Belgian excess profits tax rulings system has hinted that CCCTB and the 'Anti-BEPS Directive' are in some way connected with these investigations;
- The temporary Dutch EU Council Presidency (first six months of 2016) has stated that it will prioritise action on tax evasion and tax avoidance;
- The political and legislative follow-up at EU level to the ongoing work of the EU Parliament's Special Committee on Tax Rulings and the (standing) ECON Committee;
- Reform of the EU Code of Conduct Group (business taxation); and
- Anticipated new proposals for a mandatory joint EU Transparency Register of the EU Parliament, Commission and also the Council.
Corporates and financial institutions will do well to actively monitor the many politics-driven activities by the EU and OECD, but also the G8/G20 and even the UN, in the year ahead.
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