Weekly Tax News – 18 March 2019

Digital services tax rejected by ECOFIN

On Tuesday 12 March, during the ECOFIN, the Finance Ministers of Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland maintained their opposition in principle to the new Franco-German proposal to reduce the scope only to online advertising. Despite disappointment for the lack of ambition of this new proposal, the other Member States were ready to support the compromise text. Tax Commissioner Pierre Moscovici stated that this was a lost opportunity, but that the Commission accomplished a lot at this stage from a political point of view, in particular having had the merit of speeding up the discussions at international level on the topic of the taxation of the digital economy.

ECOFIN broadens EU blacklist and adopts new VAT rules on online sales

On 12 March, the ECOFIN adopted a revised EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, including 10 new jurisdictions that did not implement the commitments they had made to the EU by the agreed deadline. The list now includes: Guam, Samoa, American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu. Furthermore, the Council has agreed on implementing rules on the VAT regime for e-commerce. According to the European Commission, the new rules agreed on today will ensure a smooth introduction of the new VAT measures for e-commerce agreed in December 2017 and which will come into force in January 2021.

Excise duty texts rejected by the Finance Ministers

On Tuesday 12 March, European Finance Ministers decided that three texts on excise duty applicable in the EU were not yet ready for adoption and referred them back to the technical level. The Romanian presidency used the meeting to sound out the ministers on several possible compromises with regard to the Directive on the structures of excise duty on alcohol and alcoholic beverages. In particular, the discussion was around the possibility for Member States to exempt from excise duty or to apply reduced rates for ethyl alcohol distilled from fruit by private individuals for personal use have revealed a whole series of particular interests.

ETAF Tax Conference “Future Trends of Taxation” on 20 March 2019

On 20 March 2019 in Brussels, representatives of the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament and academics will participate to the ETAF Tax Conference on “Future Trends of Taxation”. The panelists will discuss the last proposal of the European Commission to shift away from unanimity principle in tax, the tax objectives of the electoral programs and the impacts of Brexit on EU tax policy.