In May 2016, ETAF was appointed by the European Commission as a new member of the “Platform for Tax Good Governance, Aggressive Tax Planning and Double Taxation”.
The Platform for Tax Good Governance is an expert group established by the European Commission composed of Member States' tax authorities and fifteen business, civil society and tax practitioner organisations. Its main purpose is to assist the Directorate General for Taxation and Customs (DG TAXUD) in developing new initiatives to promote good governance in tax matters in third countries and in the fight against aggressive tax planning and double taxation. Experts from industry, tax consulting professions and civil society engage in a structured dialogue for a better exchange of expertise to support the EU in its coordinated action against tax avoidance and tax evasion.
ETAF is represented by StB/WP Hans-Joachim Oettinger (tax adviser and auditor, Vice-President of DStV) as main representative and StB Volker Kaiser, Vice-President of ETAF and BStBK, as alternate. The new mandate of the Platform began in June 2016 and runs until June 2019. The first meetings of the Platform under its new mandate took place on 14 June and 16 September 2016.
Concerning the promotion of tax good governance, the group is dealing with effective taxation mechanisms, especially in the interaction with third countries. In this respect, the group is proceeding in a two-step-approach: In a first step, the platform draws up a list of countries envisaged by the member states and consolidates the supplied information in order to build up an EU-wide list which ensures transparency for third countries and businesses.
In a second step, the platform develops good governance support for third countries to build up their capacities in tax administration and to introduce a common procedure for double taxation agreements with them.
Concerning the fight against tax avoidance and evasion, the work of the platform also consists of two main pillars: Firstly, the platform shall support a relaunch of the CC(C)TB-proposal with ideas and practical relevance. Secondly, the group will work on further measures regarding tax transparency. Here, the focus is particularly on tax rulings, transparency in the field of corporate taxation and the implementation of BEPS Action 12. The latter aspect is very important, because it deeply affects the professional secrecy of tax advisers.
The group will also develop proposals for a better tax environment and a mechanism for the coordination of tax audits between member states. On this topic, ETAF has already expressed in its recent public consultation that it welcomes the announced proposals for an improvement of the existing dispute resolution mechanisms in tax matters.
ETAFs participation in the Platform presents a great opportunity to contribute the perspective and the practical experience of the tax advising profession to the European Commission in order to achieve reasonable changes in the concerned tax legislation.