Weekly Tax News - Tuesday 21 May 2024

May 21, 2024

On Tuesday 14 May , EU Finance Ministers reached an agreement on the proposal for a Directive on Faster and Safer Relief of Excess Withholding Taxes. The so-called FASTER initiative aims to make withholding tax procedures in the EU safer and more efficient for cross-border investors, national tax authorities and financial intermediaries, such as banks or investment platforms. The compromise reached on 14 May addressed two unresolved key issues, concerning the market capitalization ratio and the threshold of the gross dividend amount. The directive includes several key actions:

  • Common EU digital tax residence certificate: Simplifies and accelerates withholding tax relief procedures; only one digital tax residence certificate to reclaim their refunds in any Member State, replacing paper-based methods.
  • Fast-track procedures: Includes "relief at source" and "quick refund" systems. Member States will be required to implement one of the two systems (or a combination of both).
  • National registers for financial intermediaries: introduction of national registers for financial intermediaries that will be able to facilitate the fast-track procedures. Such financial intermediaries will be subject to additional due diligence and common reporting requirements.
  • Standardized reporting obligations: Ensures tax administrations receive necessary data to check the eligibility of taxpayers for the reduced rate and detect potential abuse.

The European Parliament has already given its opinion on 28 February 2024. However, due to the changes made by the Council in the directive during the negotiations, the European Parliament will be consulted again on the agreed text. Member States will have to transpose the directive into national legislation by 31 December 2028, but the national rules will have to become applicable from 1 January 2030.

No deal reached on ViDA

During the same ECOFIN meeting on Tuesday 14 May, EU Finance Ministers also tried to agree on the VAT in the Digital Age package. However, the discussions on ViDA did not result in a final agreement. The ViDA package contains essential reforms for common e-invoicing and the implementation of digital reporting requirements. It updates VAT rules for passenger transport and short-term accomodation platforms and introduces a single VAT registration across the EU. The proposed ViDA reforms failed to achieve unanimous political agreement due to concerns raised by Estonia, especially on the new deemed supplier regime for platforms. The Estonian Minister of Finance raised multiple primary concerns regarding this subject. Further negotiations are needed to approve the compromise version of the draft ViDA Directive. The Belgian Presidency has nonetheless expressed hope of reaching an agreement before the end of the term (30 June).

EU Finance Ministers adopt conclusions on financial literacy

The Council of the European Union approved on Tuesday 14 May conclusions on the pivotal role of financial literacy, underscoring its significance for overall economic stability and growth. During the discussions, the Council stressed the necessity of enhancing financial education across Member States, aiming to empower citizens with the knowledge and skills required to make informed financial decisions and foster investment in European financial markets. Several Member States have already developed and implemented national financial literacy strategies, demonstrating their commitment to this cause. Additionally, the Council advocates for the integration of financial education into school curricula. It has called on the European Commission to use non-legislative tools such as the Technical Support Instrument and the Erasmus+ programme to support these initiatives. The Council's conclusions reflect a broader commitment to fostering a financially literate population, which is essential for sustainable economic development in the EU.

Eurovision debate: Lead candidates to discuss EU key issues

On Thursday 23 May, the Eurovision debate between lead candidates for the Commission presidency, organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), will take place in the Parliament’s plenary chamber in Brussels. Lead candidates who have confirmed their presence at the debate are: Ursula von der Leyen (Germany, European People’s Party), Nicolas Schmit (Luxembourg, Party of European Socialists), Terry Reintke (Germany, European Greens), Sandro Gozi (Italy, Renew Europe Now) and Walter Baier (Austria, European Left). The five candidates will debate on six key topics, namely Economy and Jobs, Defence and Security, Climate and Environment, Democracy and Leadership, Migration and Borders and Innovation and Technology. Questions will be asked by the audience in the plenary chamber, by viewers watching from events organised by Parliament’s Liaison Offices in EU Member States and by the two moderators, public service media journalists Annelies Beck, from VRT in Belgium, and Martin Řezníček, from Czech TV in Czechia. Additionally, questions can be submitted via social media. Candidates will also face one-on-one questioning by the moderators in so-called “Spotlight” segments. The debate will be broadcast on EbS and EBU and can also be followed on the Parliament’s website.

According to recent figures published by the anti-fraud network Eurofisc, €14.6 billion in deceitful transactions were uncovered in the EU in 2023. Eurofisc is a multilateral warning system of all 27 Member States and Norway which was launched in 2010 to combat cross-border VAT fraud. On the basis of the information shared within the Eurofisc network and after analysis of the available data, Eurofisc liaison officials can take action at national level, such as proceeding with requests for information, audits or deregistration of VAT numbers. Eurofisc could record a substantial increase in the amount of fraudulent or suspicious transactions uncovered over the years. In comparison to €14.6 billion in 2023, only €3.3 billion in deceitful transactions could be discovered in the year 2020. Furthermore, the number of fraudsters which could be identified has more than doubled within the last four years. The statistics and more detailed information can be found here.

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

Copyright © 2024 - ETAF - Privacy policy - Made by 
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram