The purpose of the survey is to identify the extent to which both formal and informal tax rulings or clearances can be obtained in EU Member States and Malta.
The survey particularly aims at understanding if any specific rules existed setting out the basis on which tax rulings could be obtained, the length of time it typically takes to obtain a ruling and also the extent to which rulings obtained are binding on the tax administration.
The Code of Conduction group have debated a number of advance tax ruling procedures when considering harmful tax practices and it is therefore particularly important to understand the general validity of tax rulings to all taxpayers and the transparency of rulings given to all taxpayers. These are key areas reviewed in the survey.
FEE believes that the provision of tax rulings dealing with tax law and practice is helpful and should be encourages. It is important, however, that all taxpayers should be treated equally and therefore recommended that, for the sake of transparency, all, or at least the most important rulings given, should be published. FEE also believes that rulings should not be available on the basis of negotiated special situations applicable only to specific industries or specific taxpayers as this can create unfair “hidden” competition between European countries and potentially distort normal commercial relationships.