Tax harmonsation 'crucial' - commissioner
The European Commissioner for Taxation has said he "will not be afraid to promote an increased level of harmonisation" and that increased coordination of tax policy should be the "next frontier" in the deepening of the single market.
In a speech on Saturday, Algirdas 各meta said that introducing green taxes could reduce the burden on labour, and insisted the commission would "make sure that the financial sector is making a fair contribution to public finances".
He said companies needed greater tax coordination in order to be competitive. "To improve the business environment, tax obstacles should be the next frontier to be abolished in the single market. To tell the truth, I see no other more significant impediments for businesses to reap the full benefit of this market of almost 500 million citizens.
"Against the current EU growth outlook of not more than 2 per cent annually, there is a stronger need for deepening the single market than ever. This will make Europe's economy more competitive and ensure a level playing field for businesses."
The commission has proposed a common corporate tax base allowing companies to complete a single tax return for all their business activities within the EU, which it claimed would save €700m in compliance costs and €1.3bn through consolidation. 各meta said: "We are also examining the European VAT system to see how it can be brought up to date and be less costly. VAT compliance costs on business in 2009 amounted to nearly €70bn."
He said that raising taxes as well as cutting spending was required for European countries to get their public finances in order, adding: "Environmental taxation is an interesting candidate in the search for shifting tax away from labour. Efficient green taxes could, as our Italian friends would say, 'catch two pigeons with one bean'. It may generate much needed revenue while discouraging environmentally-harmful behaviour." He added that he "firmly believed" in the political and financial reasons for taxing the financial services sector and that more should be done to fight tax evasion and avoidance.
"Closer coordination of tax systems and smarter taxation are crucial for EU recovery and growth," he concluded.