Brussels, 9th September 2004
A survey of the compliance costs of EU companies published today confirms the need for the Commission's suggestion (see IP/03/1593) that companies should be allowed to use a single basis of assessment for corporate tax for all their EU-wide activities so as to avoid the costly inefficiencies of dealing with EU Member States' twenty-five different company tax systems. The survey also underlines the need for the proposal that the Commission intends to present in the next few months for a one-stop shop system whereby a trader could fulfil his Value Added Tax (VAT) obligations for his EU-wide activities solely in the Member State in which he is established (see IP/04/654). The Commission's European Tax Survey, in which seven hundred EU companies participated, shows that cross-border activity currently leads to higher company tax and VAT compliance costs for companies. Compliance costs are significantly higher for companies with at least one subsidiary in another EU Member State compared to companies without subsidiaries abroad and the costs increase according to the number of such subsidiaries. Compliance costs are also proportionately greater for SMEs than for large companies.
"I welcome this European Tax Survey which demonstrates the potential costs that arise from the lack of co-ordination of EU taxation systems" commented Taxation Commissioner Frits Bolkestein. "I hope that Ministers will have regard to these results in their discussions on reducing the administrative burden and on company taxation during the informal meeting of Member States’ Economics and Finance Ministers this weekend."
The European Tax Survey
The Survey is based on a questionnaire concerning company taxation and VAT compliance costs in the EU that the Commission sent to more than 2000 companies in September 2003, via the European Business Test Panel (see http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ebtp/index_en.htm
Seven hundred companies from fourteen EU Member States participated in the Survey. The main findings are that:
The survey is available on the Europa internet site:
For information on EU company taxation discussions see
For information on the VAT one-stop shop project see