Weekly Tax News - Monday 6 May 2024

May 6, 2024

On Monday 29 April, eight lead candidates debated climate change, foreign and security policies, as well as EU democracy, during a debate organised by Studio Europa Maastricht and POLITICO. All candidates were given time for both an opening and closing speech. Much of the debate was a review of the work of the last European Commission with the current President Ursula von der Leyen defending her record on issues ranging from climate change to the protection of democracy and migration. One potential difference between the main political parties that appeared was potential collaboration with the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, which is likely to gain in importance in the next European Parliament. While the representatives of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party, the Party of European Socialists and the European Green Party clearly ruled this out, Ms von der Leyen argued that it should depend on the composition of the next Parliament. The event organisers held a poll both before and after the debate on who the audience thought should be the next European Commission President. In both polls, the Green representative Bas Eickhout was a clear winner with Ursula von der Leyen coming in second. The Maastricht debate can be watched again here. Another political debate among the lead candidates, organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), will take place on 23 May in the afternoon, in the Parliament’s plenary chamber in Brussels.

Member States near an agreement on ViDA

EU Member States will try to reach an agreement on the VAT in the Digital Age (ViDA) package at the ECOFIN meeting on 14 May. The ViDA package, proposed in December 2022, would introduce common e-invoicing and digital reporting requirements, update VAT rules for passenger transport and short-term accommodation platforms and the introduce of a single VAT registration across the EU. A new compromise proposal would reportedly delay e-invoicing requirements until July 2030. Member States would be able to enact measures, including accreditation programs, to ensure that electronic invoices issued by taxable persons comply with the technical syntax and semantics of the standards allowed, and contain all the necessary data determined by those standards. During their talks, Member States also reportedly reintroduced the possibility of summary invoices, which the European Commission initially proposed eliminating. On Thursday 2 May, the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU tested the support of Member States for this compromise proposal. During the meeting, Estonia reportedly reiterated its concerns about the deemed supplier regime for platforms and said further talks should take place on the rule, which could potentially be separated from the rest of the package. Some issues linked to digital reporting requirements also remain open. The Belgian compromise proposal sets the deadline at no later than 10 days (instead of the two-day deadline proposed by the Commission) following the chargeable event for issuing an invoice but some countries would reportedly prefer a longer timeline.

Impacts of EU corporate taxation on businesses need more consideration, EESC says

In a press release published on Monday 29 April, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) said that impacts of EU corporate taxation on businesses need more consideration. During its April Plenary session, the EESC adopted its opinion on the BEFIT proposal, where it says that while BEFIT may introduce an additional layer of complexity for businesses, it offers certain advantages. Notably, BEFIT tackles smaller risks linked to tax base harmonisation and offers significant relief from withholding taxes within the EU, thereby reducing the operational costs of cross-border activities, the EESC said. The EESC supports the BEFIT proposal but stresses that under BEFIT, three sets of rules will be running in parallel: the domestic national revenue determination framework, the OECD Pillar Two system and the BEFIT system. There is a need to clarify how these systems interact to avoid additional burdens for businesses, it said. Such a disjointed framework could become burdensome for small Member States with very limited administrative capacity, especially when the headquarters of a large group are located in a small Member State, it said.

PwC conversation with Enrico Letta on the future of the Single Market and the challenge to business

During an event organised in Brussels on Monday 29 April 2024, PwC quizzed Enrico Letta, Former Italian Prime Minister and current President of the Jacques Delors Institute, about his recently published High-Level report on the Future of the Single Market, with a strong focus on the challenge to business. His report is a mix between technical details, roadmaps, deadlines and personal feelings about how we can find solutions for the high expectations for the future budget of the EU, he explained. Mr Letta said that there is no too ambitious proposal in his report such as no Treaty change for instance. One of the main flagship proposals of the report is his proposal for a 28 regime, a sort of “passe-partout” he said, which would help restore the trust of SMEs in the Single Market. Mr Letta concluded by saying that if we are not able in the five coming years to recuperate what we didn’t do in the last 20 years, the problem of EU competitiveness will become a very serious one. On this occasion, PwC also presented its 27th Annual Global CEO Survey findings.

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