On 19 February, Accountancy Europe held its flagship event – Tax Day 2020. Over 100 people attended, and we discussed the main tax challenges of the moment. Speakers began with examining the role of ethics in tax, followed by tax transparency and cooperative compliance. We heard about the European Commission’s tax agenda, ambitious plans from the European Parliament and insights on how the tax system can evolve to meet global megatrends.
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Tax and Ethics
Jens Poll (IESBA), José Maria Vallejo (BBVA) and Chiara Putaturo (Oxfam EU) debated the role of ethics in tax, and to what degree the spirit and the letter of the law must be respected with tax compliance.
There are many private sector standards for greater tax transparency. Mia D’Adhemar presented GRI’s new standard to increase tax transparency. Stefan Crets (CSR Europe) interviewed Jose Luis Migoya Vargas (Iberdrola) on his company’s integration of the CSR Europe’s Blueprint for responsible and transparent tax behaviour.
Eelco van der Enden (Accountancy Europe), Andreas Kowallik (Deloitte) and Jonathan Leigh Pemberton (Independent Adviser on Tax Policy) discussed the benefits of cooperative compliance and how more voluntary tax transparency by companies towards tax authorities could enable authorities to take a more risks-based approach to tax compliance.
Global Megatrends Scene Setter
Asa Gunnarsson (Umea University) noted global megatrends on tax, including the digitalisation of economy and a greater focus on sustainability.
French priorities for international tax reform
Christophe Pourreau, (DLF) spoke about the French priorities for international tax reform, noting that the French government would urge work at EU level if the OECD process does not succeed.
The European Parliament’s Work on Tax
Paul Tang (MEP) spoke about the European Parliament’s work on taxation, highlighting his interest in working further on the EU tax haven blacklist. He confirmed his interest to Chair the European Parliament’s permanent sub-committee on tax.
Dealing with other megatrends
Femke Groothuis (The Ex’tax Project), Xavier Oberson (University of Geneva) and Walter Stahel (Founder of The Product-Life Institute) spoke on taxing pollution, taxing robots and circular economy.
The European Commission’s response to challenges to the tax system
Benjamin Angel, (DG TAXUD European Commission) stated that the Commission plans to:
- launch a proposal in June to amend the directive on administrative cooperation on tax (DAC), which would enable the exchange of information on data from online platforms
- pursue legislative action to make sure that the online platforms will transfer the information to the tax authority
- look into the possibility of an EU framework for cooperative compliance
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