Five EU states vow to introduce minimum corporate tax
Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands have vowed to implement a global minimum corporate tax despite Hungarian opposition. Hungary has refused to back the bloc’s proposals for the levy.
The 5 countries’ finance ministers pledged to introduce a minimum 15 % effective corporate tax rate in their own countries “swiftly” in a joint statement on 9 September. They added that they wanted the new regime in place by 2023. Read more
Member States want to go beyond soft law on direct taxation in the EU
“No one strictly said we want soft law only, no one ruled it out either”, said Czech Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura at a press conference on 10 September. The informal ECOFIN meeting followed the conference in Prague. “Member States thought that there could be more effective taxation if we went beyond soft law”, added Stanjura.
The Czech Council Presidency had brought onto the finance ministers’ table a discussion on to what degree the EU should continue to make ‘hard law’ legislation on taxation, as opposed to using more ‘soft law’ measures. These include recommendations and guidance. After the meeting, it was clear that most EU countries supported continuing legislation and soft law measures. Read more
EU adopts windfall levy
EU energy ministers adopted measures to ease an energy crisis, including a levy on windfall profits of fossil fuel companies, on 30 September. The deal reached on the EC’s proposals is estimated to help raise $140 billion in relief for people and businesses hit by the crunch.
Ministers backed a levy of at least 33% on the surplus profits of companies producing or refining oil, natural gas and coal. Main measures also include temporary cap on the revenue of low-cost electricity generators such as wind, solar and nuclear companies, and an obligation for EU countries to reduce electricity consumption by at least 5% during peak price hours. Read more
New jurisdictions added to the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions
EU finance ministers agreed to add Anguilla, The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands to the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes at the 4 October ECOFIN meeting. With these additions, the EU list now consists of 12 jurisdictions.
The finance ministers also approved the Code of Conduct Group’s new work programme for the Czech Council Presidency and the Code of Conduct Group’s report to the Council.
A big elephant in the room continued to be the EU’s Pillar 2 Directive. In the summer, Czech Presidency indicated its aim to reach an agreement on the Directive in October, but this was not the case due to Hungary’s continued veto of the file. Thus, it did not feature on the ECOFIN agenda.. This may renew pressure on EC to legislate on the file using the so-called enhanced cooperation mechanism. However, the Czech Presidency insists there is time until the end of this year for the EU to find a unanimous agreement.