Brussels, 19 July 2002
Company tax: Commission sets up Transfer Pricing Forum
The European Commission has appointed ten private sector tax experts to participate in the EU Transfer Pricing Forum on business taxation, as well as a Chairman of the Forum. Together with experts from Member States' administrations, the business experts have the task of considering ways of reducing the high compliance costs and eliminating the double taxation that often arise in the case of cross-border inter-group transactions. These problems occur because of disagreements both between companies and tax administrations and between national tax administrations on the pricing of the transactions. The Commission made these appointments with the agreement of representatives of the Presidency of the EU's Council of Ministers and of the European employers' organisation UNICE. A first meeting of the Forum, which the Commission announced in its company tax Communication of 23 October 2001 (see IP/01/1468), is scheduled for early October 2002 and it will meet two or three times a year.
"I am pleased that the Forum on transfer pricing issues will soon commence its work," said Taxation Commissioner Frits Bolkestein. "I hope that this dialogue between tax administrations and business will improve mutual understanding and trust and lead to pragmatic solutions to the problems of double taxation and excessive red tape that can hamper cross-border inter-group activity in the Internal Market".
The Commission in its Communication on company taxation of October 2001 announced its intention to establish an 'EU Joint Forum on Transfer Pricing' to improve co-ordination between Member States and between Member States and businesses in the taxation of intra-group cross-border transactions. Double taxation can arise where two Member States do not agree on transfer prices between two associated companies. Furthermore there is a tendency for Member States to impose increasingly onerous transfer pricing documentation requirements. The Forum is due to address issues that do not require legislation, such as Advance Pricing Agreements, rationalisation of documentation requirements, and clarification of transfer pricing methodologies within the OECD guidelines on the subject.
The Forum will consist of one tax expert from each Member State's tax administration and 10 high-level experts from the business community, together with the Chairman. The business experts and Chairman were chosen by a selection board composed of representatives of the EU Council's Presidency, the European Commission and the Fiscal Affairs Committee of UNICE and have been appointed for a renewable two-year period.
The business experts were chosen from more than 60 highly qualified tax professionals active in industry, services, the business community and in other fields of activity linked with transfer pricing who responded to a call for applications. While recognising the merits of all applicants, the Selection Board decided on the individuals named below on the basis of their particular professional qualifications and suitability and of the need for a balanced composition in terms of geographical origin and size and type of business represented. The list of 10 business members is available on the Europa website at the following address:
The Chairman, Bruno Gibert, is a well known, highly qualified and respected tax expert with considerable experience both in the French tax administration and in the private sector.
In addition to the business and Member States' experts, a representative of the OECD and of each of the candidate countries' tax administrations will be invited to attend the Forum as observers.
The Forum will have two or three meetings a year in Brussels. More information on the Forum can be found at the following address:
EU Transfer Pricing Forum members:
Mr. Bruno GIBERT (F) - Avocat Associé, CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre, Paris
Mr. Philip GILLETT (UK) - Chairman of the Taxation Committee of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Group Taxation Controller of Imperial Chemical Industries plc
Mr. Eduardo GRACIA (ES) - Senior Associate with J&A Garrigues Y Cia S.R.C
Mr. Guy KERSCH (L) - Director European Taxes of Pharmacia S.A.
Dr. Klaus KROPPEN (D) - Head of the German Transfer Pricing Unit of Deloitte & Touche
Prof. Guglielmo MAISTO (IT) - Professor of Tax Law at the Catholic University of Piacenza, Representative of CONFINDUSTRIA, Partner of the law firm Maisto e Associati
Dr. Ulrich MOEBUS (D) - Representative of Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (BDI), Tax Director of Merck KGaA
Mrs. Sylvie PUECH (F) - Representative of Association Française des Entreprises Privées et Association des Grandes Entreprises Françaises (AFEP-AGREF), Tax Director of LVMH Moët-Hennessy Louis Vuitton Group
Mr. Chris ROLFE (UK) - Head of the European Transfer Pricing Unit of PriceWaterhouseCoopers
Mr. Theo SCHMIT (NL) - Representative of Verbond van Nederlandse Ondernemingen en het Nederlands Christelijk Werkgeversverbond (VNO-NCW), Head of Group Taxation of Royal Philips Electronics NV
Prof. Dirk VAN STAPPEN (B) - Professor of Corporate Income Taxation at the University of Antwerp, Partner of KPMG Global Transfer Pricing Services