Brussels, 10 April 2014
Taxation: Reinforcing the Single Market for citizens
Today the Commission is launching two public consultations and creating an expert group to gather ideas on how to tackle any tax obstacles that hinder the cross-border activity of individuals in the Single Market. At the same time, the Commission has launched new web pages aimed at providing useful tax information to individuals who are active across borders.
Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation said: "The strength of the European Union relies on people being able to move freely within the Single Market to work, study and retire. It is essential that everyone is tax compliant, but tax compliance must be made easy too. This needs particular attention in cross-border situations, where double taxation must be eliminated."
Statistics show that there are many EU citizens who move across borders to work or retire or purchase goods or invest in assets other countries. For example, around 14.1 million EU citizens (or 2.8% of the total EU population) reside in an EU Member State other than their own and almost 30% of EU citizens purchase offline and online goods from businesses based in other Member States. These situations may mean that taxpayers face complex tax declaration obligations in more than one Member State and double taxation.
The expert group created today will bring together stakeholders to look principally at elements of direct taxation that may affect an individual’s cross-border activity in the Single Market. Personal income taxation and inheritance taxation will be particularly focussed on. However, if need be, the group may also look at other taxes that affect the mobility of persons, such as the taxation of vehicles and the taxation of e-commerce.
One of the public consultations covers tax problems which citizens who are active cross-border face. It includes questions on problems that arise when individuals work or invest in other Member States, as well as questions on measures already in place in certain Member States to facilitate tax compliance.
The other consultation focuses on problems related to inheritance taxation. It follows up on the Commission’s Recommendation to Member States on this issue (IP/11/1551).
These three initiatives follow the reviews announced in 2012 (IP/12/340) and (IP/14/31) earlier this year to identify discriminatory tax rules in Member States. As work is progressing on combating cross-border tax evasion via closer cooperation between tax administrations, there must now be a corresponding effort to combat cross-border double taxation and compliance burdens. Furthermore, facilitating tax compliance amongst mobile taxpayers should also benefit tax administrations. On the basis of the feedback received, the Commission will then decide on the appropriate steps to take to tackle the problems identified.
Frequently asked questions: MEMO/14/278
Call for applications to participate in the expert group: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/individuals/expert_group/index_en.htm
Public consultation on tax obstacles: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/common/consultations/tax/2014-04_cross_borders_en.htm
Public consultation on inheritance taxation: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/common/consultations/tax/2014-04_inheritance_tax_en.htm
Direct tax problems facing citizens: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/individuals/index_en.htm
Europe Direct: http://www.europedirect.europa.eu