Weekly Tax News – 1 March 2021

Public CbCR: agreement reached

On 25 February, the Competitive Council has reached an agreement by qualified majority on the Commission’s proposal for a Public Country-by-Country reporting (Public CbCR) which would oblige large companies to make public certain accounting data, such as their turnover or taxes paid. France, Italy, Belgium, Romania, Austria, Poland, Spain, Finland, Greece, Bulgaria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Slovenia gave their explicit support to the text. On the other hand, Hungary, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Luxembourg and Malta did not support the text because they believe that the Competitiveness Council is not the appropriate forum for political debate. In their opinion, the proposal should be negotiated as a tax text, unanimously and within the Ecofin Council. Germany have abstained for internal policy reasons while Lithuania and Slovakia (which had supported the proposal in the past) did not take the floor during the meeting. On 3 March, the Member States’ ambassadors to the EU (Coreper) should approve the EU Council’s negotiating mandate to begin negotiations with the European Parliament. The European Parliament negotiators will include the co-rapporteurs Evelyn Regner (S&D, Austria) and Iban García del Blanco (S&D, Spain).

FISC subcommittee discusses CumEx scandal and Digital Tax report

On 24 February, the FISC subcommittee of the European Parliament has held a hearing with experts to discuss CumEx and CumCum withholding tax systems. The CumEx case in 2018 brought to the attention of the public a suspect tax evasion of about EUR 55 billion in 15 years perpetrated by several banks in various EU Member States. Fabrizio Planta (Head of markets and data reporting at the European Security Market Authority - ESMA) highlighted that in September 2020, the ESMA has published a report concluding that such schemes fall under EU tax policy and that ESMA has proposed legislative amendments to improve the detection of these schemes. Christoph Spengel (Professor of International Corporate Taxation at the University of Mannheim) remarked that the schemes have not completely disappeared in Germany after the tax scandal. MEPs have asked ESMA to continue investigating regarding these tax systems in order to make sure the legislative loopholes that caused them are closed. During the same day, the FISC subcommittee have also discussed the report on digital taxation drafted by Martin Hlaváček (Renew Europe, Czech Republic) and Andreas Schwab (EPP, Germany). During the discussion, MEPs have stressed that they would like to see an international agreement by mid-2021, but the EU should not passively wait for such conclusion, but rather prepare a legislative proposal for a fair EU taxation of digital companies.

Dominica added to the EU tax blacklist

On 22 February, the EU Council has adopted the revision of the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. Dominica has been added to the black list while Barbados has been removed. Jamaica has been added to the grey list after committing to change its harmful tax regime, while Morocco, Saint Lucia and Namibia have been removed from such grey list thanks to the fulfillment of all their commitments. Australia, Jordan, Maldives and Turkey have all been granted an extension to the deadline for fulfilling their respective commitments.