European Commission proposes new changes to EU tax policy

Friday 24 July 2020

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European Commission proposes new changes to EU tax policy


On July 15th, the European Commission adopted an ambitious new package of measures and changes to the EU tax policy. The European Commission aims to support the economic recovery in the short-run and to optimize the long-term growth of the European economy by increasing transparency, adding new initiatives in the fight against tax abuse and promoting fair taxation through governance.

The tax package proposed by the European Commission consists of the following three pillar


1.   A tax action plan for fair and simple taxation

This tax action plan is a list of 25 actions to be taken in 2020-2023. These actions are aimed at fair and simple taxation throughout the European Union with the goal of supporting the EU economic recovery strategy. The actions in the plan can be broken down in a few broader categories:

  • Single EU VAT registration
  • Modernised reporting obligations
  • Recovery of unpaid taxes
  • Easier, but more effectively monitored, cross-border transactions
  • Prevention and resolution of disputes
  • Simplified EU tax rules to improve competitiveness

Focus points as part of these categories are the use of data analysis and the development of new digital solutions for taxpayers and tax administrations, extension of the VAT One Stop Shop already in use for telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services to include the distance sales of goods and services, legislation to clarify the determination of tax residency on a more consistent basis, the further development of Eurofisc – a EU mechanism implemented to fight cross-border VAT fraud –, the negotiation of administrative cooperation agreements regarding VAT with main trade partners of the EU and update the VAT rules for financial services, passenger transport and E-commerce.


2.   Revision of the Directive on Administrative Cooperation (DAC7)

The Directive on Administrative Cooperation will be amended to extend the EU tax transparency rules and regulations to digital platforms. Providers of digital platforms will be obligated to collect and report information on parties using their services to sell goods or services. The information collected will be automatically exchanged between EU Member States and will be used to ensure taxation takes place in the right jurisdiction, as well as to fight fraud, as it allows national authorities to easily identify where tax should be paid. The amendment also includes provisions to introduce the conduct of joint audits and the reinforcement of administrative cooperation between EU Member States


3.   Communication on good tax governance

The European Commission proposes several changes in the field of governance to promote fair taxation and clamp down on unfair tax competition in the EU as well as internationally. The European Commission has proposed changes to:

  • the Code of Conduct; to include relevant taxes other than corporate income tax, and widen the scope,
  • the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions to improve the selection criteria
  • the outline for the EU’s approach on cooperation with developing countries on the topic of taxation.

In summary, this tax package is a first step in the European Union’s tax agenda for the coming years. It is meant to tackle the challenges brought forth by the digital era and the sharing economy, and to ensure tax measures are in place to support the EU’s goals on climate neutrality in 2050, while contributing to both short-term economic recovery as well as long-term economic growth for the European Union and its Member States. Negotiations between Members States regarding the cooperation needed on different levels have already started, and while it may seem like the package is aimed at the future, the first of the measures are planned to be launched in the 4th quarter of 2020, and VAT measures like the VAT One Stop Shop extension are currently scheduled to go live on July 1st, 2021. And even though the package has to be ratified by all 27 EU Member States and is bound to undergo revisions and changes, it would be recommended for EU taxpayers to follow and closely monitor the proposals brought forth by the European Commission and to asses the impact of these, and future, tax measures on their business and plans for the future.

Maprima will follow up closely and make sure that our clients will be informed in time about any changes that might impact their business. In the meantime, Maprima is happy to assist with any Benelux related VAT compliance matters