Weekly Tax News – 21 September 2020

Von der Leyen pushes on digital tax, CBAM and a new Energy Tax Directive

On Wednesday 16 September, during her first State of the Union address, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, confirmed that the Commission is working hard to try to support an agreement at OECD level on digital taxation. However, President von der Leyen confirmed that if an agreement will not be reached by the end of the year, “Europe will come forward with a proposal early next year”. She pointed out the need for introducing a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) to reduce carbon emission in a way which is compatible with WTO rules. Furthermore, in her Letter of Intent addressed to President Sassoli and Chancellor Merkel, Mrs von der Leyen confirmed that in 2021 the Commission will launch a legislative proposal to review the Energy Taxation Directive.

The European Parliament wants to hear the CEOs of GAFA companies

The Chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, Irene Tinagli (S&D, Italy), confirmed that the political group coordinators for the ECON Committee had endorsed the idea of holding a hearing of the CEOs of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple as soon as the European Parliament reopens its doors to the public. The hearing should discuss the topics recently raised by MEP Stéphanie Yon-Courtin in her letter, namely: anti-competitive practices in the digital world and in the field of taxation. MEP Tinagli explained that the hearing would allow the CEOs of these big companies to give their point of view and MEPs, who represent European consumers, to express theirs. The organisation of this hearing must now be confirmed by the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament political groups.

Poland to introduce new corporate tax disclosure rules

On 4 September, Poland’s Council of Ministers announced a tax bill amending the corporate income tax rules, which may have far-reaching consequences for various businesses in Poland. One of the main points of the new rules is the intention to ask large businesses to publish their tax policies and tax strategies. The Polish Ministry of Finance remarked that this new obligation would strengthen the control of the citizens over the economic activity and tax contribution of large corporations operating in Poland. It is not yet clear what elements of the large businesses tax strategies and tax policies should be included in these new disclosure rules.