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Brussels, 16th October 2003

Company taxation: Rome conference 5-6 December

The European Commission has opened online registration for a high-level conference on "EU Corporate Tax Reform Progress and New Challenges" that it will host together with the Italian Presidency of the EU's Council of Ministers on 5 and 6 December in Rome. Members of the public may attend the conference free of charge subject to space restrictions and to registration before 31st October. Journalists are also welcome to participate. The objective of the Conference is to assess the progress that has been made in EU corporate tax co-ordination since October 2001 when the Commission proposed a two-track strategy for removing the tax obstacles in the Internal Market including a single consolidated tax base for the EU-wide activities of companies (see IP/01/1468). For registration details, agenda and practical information see:

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, Italian Minister of Economy and Finance Giulio Tremonti, former judge at the European Court of Justice Melchior Wathelet and Chair of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament Christa Randzio-Plath will all address the conference. Senior tax experts from Member States' administrations, the business community and the academic and legal spheres will participate in panel discussions.

The conference will in particular consider the increasingly important role of European Court of Justice rulings in the corporate tax field and their consequences for Member States' double taxation treaties. It will also consider the possibility of introducing pilot schemes to test the application of some form of EU-wide consolidated tax base on small and medium-sized enterprises and on the European Company (see IP/01/1376). The Commission is due to present at the conference a Communication reporting on its policy conclusions in this field that is scheduled for adoption in November this year.

Individuals who would like to attend the conference, for which no fee will be charged, may register their interest on the website. Participants will be expected to organise their own travel and accommodation although a list of suitably located hotels will be provided with the confirmation of participation in the conference. The Commission will do its utmost to satisfy all requests but in the event of over-subscription there may be some disappointed applicants. Applications should be made before 31st October.

Journalists who wish to attend the conference should send an email with their names, addresses, contact details and the name of the media organisation that they represent to

The conference will take place in the Scuola di Polizia Tributaria della Guardia di Finanza, Via delle Fiamme Gialle 14/16, I-00122 Ostia Lido (Rome).


The Commission's October 2001 Communication identified several steps which could be taken to remove individual tax obstacles to cross-border trade in the Internal Market and it has since presented proposals to eliminate specific problems and intends to present more. 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. These included:

  • 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 Commission services have undertaken extensive public consultations on these common tax base ideas, including at a Conference in April 2002 (see MEMO/02/84). Business organisations have responded very positively to the idea of introducing an experimental pilot common tax base scheme (using Home State Taxation) for small and medium-sized companies. The idea of allowing European Companies to use a Common Consolidated Tax Base for an experimental period has also won some support.

The Commission is due to adopt a Communication in November this year outlining its policy conclusions following these consultations.

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