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Disincentives to tax avoidance or evasion

EESC opinion: Disincentives to tax avoidance or evasion


Key points:


  • welcomes and supports the European Commission's decision to tackle the problem of intermediaries enabling aggressive tax planning. Making their activities transparent, through the reporting obligation proposed in the proposal for a directive, will deter intermediaries from offering their clients aggressive tax planning schemes, and thus reduce the harmful erosion of Member States' tax bases.
  • underlines the importance of the Commission's decision to provide logistical and technical support to the Member States for the implementation of the secure central directory to be used to record the information subject to administrative cooperation.
  • considers it is important to ensure that the directive will be an effective deterrent to aggressive tax planning. More precise requirements for qualification of reportable transactions are required in order to prevent over-reporting from companies with time-consuming administration for both tax administrations and taxpayers.
  • calls for appropriate and constructive guidance from the Commission and Member States as to whether transactions fall within that hallmark or not, as the requirement to comply with the arm's length principle of the OECD transfer pricing guidelines is not an exact science and inevitably includes a subjective interpretation from taxpayers and tax authorities.
  • notes that the taxpayer carries the ultimate responsibility to comply with the proposed directive. To fulfil the requirement of proportionality, the administrative costs must be reduced to the furthest extent possible for all sizes of businesses.
  • calls on the Commission to review the five-day deadline for reporting, so as to ensure that it is feasible for the entities that are subject to the reporting obligation and, at the same time, is consistent with the objective of an effective reporting policy.
  • considers that the proposal for a directive leaves a number of issues unresolved, such as how it is to be applied to taxpayers in the digital economy, given the difficulty in determining their physical presence as taxable persons in individual Member State jurisdictions.
  • stresses that the reporting mechanisms must not create instability in tax legislation as a result of frequent changes, and that account must be taken of the fact that direct taxation falls within the legislative competence of the Member States.