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IP/02/419

Brussels, 15th March 2002

Conference on company taxation in the EU, Brussels, 29-30 April 2002

The European Commission will host a high-level conference on how to remove tax obstacles to business activity in the Internal Market in Brussels on 29-30 April. The conference is due to focus in particular on possible ways of achieving a single tax base for EU companies to use when calculating their EU-wide taxable profits. This would aim to avoid the current costly inefficiencies resulting from the operation of fifteen different sets of tax rules. The conference is a follow-up to the Commission's company taxation Communication of 23 October 2001 (see IP/01/1468). To prepare for the conference, the Commission has launched a web-site on company taxation in the EU which includes an online discussion forum to allow the public to contribute their views on this subject. The web-site also includes the agenda, list of speakers and application material for the conference, as well as information on recent EU developments in the area of company taxation. Members of the public may attend the conference free of charge subject to space restrictions and advance registration. Journalists are also welcome to participate. The "European Union Corporate Tax" Web-site is located at: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/company_tax/index_en.htm

The conference will bring together a wide variety of taxation specialists, officials from Member States and the Commission, business and trade union representatives and academics. Taxation Commissioner Frits Bolkestein, Spanish Minister of Finance Cristóbal Montoro Romero, Benedetto Della Vedova MEP, the Secretary General of UNICE, Philippe De Buck and the Secretary General of the European Trade Union Confederation, Emilio Gabaglio will all address the conference. High level tax experts from Member States' administrations and the business community will participate in panel discussions.

The Commission in its October 2001 Communication identified several steps which could be taken to remove individual tax obstacles to cross-border trade in the Internal Market and the Commission and Member States are currently discussing these. However, the Commission also concluded that in the longer term Member States should agree to allow EU companies to use a single consolidated base for computing tax on their EU-wide profits. The Commission considers that the existence of fifteen separate sets of tax rules for calculating the taxable base in the Internal Market, in addition to creating compliance costs, causes numerous problems such as the absence of relief for losses in cross-border situations, transfer pricing and double taxation. The Commission Communication presented a number of options to achieve such a single tax base that the April conference will consider. These options include:

  • Home State Taxation - where a multinational group would be able to opt to calculate the taxable profits for all its EU operations according to the tax rules of the Member State where its headquarters are based, i.e. its 'Home State'; and

  • a Common (Consolidated) Tax Base - where a multinational group would be able to opt to calculate the taxable profits for all its EU operations according to a new common set of tax rules applicable across the EU.

The website provides detailed information on the conference and on company taxation and also allows visitors to contribute their views on the different proposals included in the Commission Communication of last October via the online forum discussion page. The Commission will take these views, as well as those expressed at the conference, into account in a report with policy conclusions which it has undertaken to present by 2003.

Individuals who would like to attend the conference, for which no fee will be charged, may register their interest on the website. The Commission will do its utmost to satisfy all requests but in the event of over-subscription there may be some disappointed applicants. Confirmations will be issued in early April.

Journalists who wish to attend the conference should send an email with their names, addresses, contact details and name of the media organisation that they represent to simone.nielsen@ec.europa.eu. Once they have registered they will receive a document allowing them access to the conference.

The conference will take place in the Charlemagne Building, 170 rue de la Loi, B-1040, Brussels.


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