Weekly Tax News - Monday 20 February 2023

February 20, 2023

10th package of EU sanctions against Russia

On Wednesday 15 February, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, presented the 10th package of sanctions against Russia. Among other things, the Commission is proposing further export bans worth more than €11 billion, to deprive the Russian economy of critical technology and industrial goods. To have maximum impact, the Commission proposes to target industrial products that Russia needs, but of which a shortage cannot be rectified by third countries, such as electronics, specialised vehicles, machinery parts, truck spare parts and jet engines. The new package should also introduce new measures to prevent circumvention of the measures already adopted. In particular, the Commission will draw up an inventory of all frozen Russian central bank assets held in the EU.  In addition, Ms von der Leyen announced that a sanctions coordinators’ forum will be held this week, bringing together the EU’s international partners and Member States to strengthen enforcement efforts. Ms von der Leyen called Member States to adopt this new package before 24 February, which will mark the 1st anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine.

Results of ECOFIN meeting

On Tuesday 14 February, EU Finance ministers met in Brussels to exchange views on the economic and financial impact of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Ministers focused in particular on the implementation and impact of the sanctions adopted following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. They also approved, without discussion, the revision of the EU blacklist of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, adding the British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, the Marshall Islands, and Russia to the list. These four jurisdictions join American Samoa, Anguilla, the Bahamas, Fiji, Guam, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu, the US Virgin Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Aruba, Belize, Curaçao, and Qatar have been put on the so-called EU “grey” list of jurisdictions that have made commitments on good tax governance. Both lists will be revised again in October.

OECD releases comments received on compliance and tax certainty aspects of Pillar Two

On Thursday 16 February, the OECD released almost 750 pages of comments received on the public consultation it launched in December 2022 on the compliance and tax certainty aspects of the Pillar Two global minimum tax. The OECD sought inputs on the amount and type of information that MNE Groups should be expected to collect, retain and/or report for the application of the GloBE rules and possible simplifications that could be incorporated in the GloBE Information Return. In a second public consultation document, the OECD outlined various mechanisms for achieving tax certainty under the GloBE rules, including dispute prevention and dispute resolution mechanisms. A public consultation meeting will be held online on 16 March 2023 to discuss the comments received.

New steps in infringement proceedings on the implementation of the EU Proportionality Test Directive

On Wednesday 15 February, the European Commission took new steps in the framework of ongoing infringement procedures regarding the implementation of the Directive on a Proportionality test (EU 2018/958), which requires Member States to assess if the regulation introduced for professions are “necessary and balanced”. The Commission has decided to send 11 additional letters of formal notice to Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, France, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and a letter of formal notice to Estonia to ensure that introduction of professional regulation via parliamentary amendments is covered by a prior proportionality assessment. In addition, the Commission has decided to send 5 reasoned opinions to Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia and Spain for not having properly implemented the Directive. These reasoned opinions address in particular the failure to include all relevant measures in the proportionality assessments, or the lack of implementation of the necessary procedural guarantees or of certain criteria for those assessments, the Commission explained. If the Commission is not satisfied with the answers provided by the concerned Member States, it could decide to refer the matter to the EU Court of Justice.


This newsletter contains information about European tax policies and developments gathered from official documents, hearings, conferences and the press. It does not reflect the official position of ETAF nor should it be taken as a written statement on behalf of ETAF.  

ETAF is a registered organisation in the EU Transparency Register, with the register identification number 760084520382-92.

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