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Carbon emissions pricing: Some points of reference

30-03-2020

The need to do more to mitigate climate change resulting from emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), in particular in terms of pricing, is widely accepted. Several countries around the globe are either planning to implement or have introduced carbon-emission pricing measures (i.e. taxing or internalising negative externalities), with varying scope (upstream, downstream), coverage (sector exclusions) and boundaries (subnational or national areas). The objective is to reduce emissions in line with medium-term ...

The need to do more to mitigate climate change resulting from emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), in particular in terms of pricing, is widely accepted. Several countries around the globe are either planning to implement or have introduced carbon-emission pricing measures (i.e. taxing or internalising negative externalities), with varying scope (upstream, downstream), coverage (sector exclusions) and boundaries (subnational or national areas). The objective is to reduce emissions in line with medium-term climate change mitigation pathways. There are broadly two approaches: the emissions trading system (cap and trade) and carbon taxing. The existing measures are assessed regularly so as to be made more effective as regards emission reductions. The number of jurisdictions having adopted or intending to adopt carbon pricing has increased but still remains limited, in particular as regards the level of emissions covered. One concern is to address 'carbon leakage', a term that describes shifts in economic activities and/or changes in investment configurations, directly or indirectly causing GHG emissions to be moved away from a jurisdiction with GHG constraints to another jurisdiction with fewer or no GHG constraints. Measures addressing carbon leakage have complementary objectives and outcomes that need to be addressed in their design. They address competitiveness and trade concerns, while their central raison d’être is climate change mitigation. They are now at the top of the EU agenda.

Understanding environmental taxation

16-01-2020

Environmental taxation is one way of encouraging a shift towards more eco-friendly choices; employed in combination with the other instruments available, it can help bring about the adjustments required to tackle the environmental and climate challenges facing us today. The aim of environmental taxation, in principle, is to factor environmental damage, or negative externalities, into prices in order to steer production and consumption choices in a more eco-friendly direction. Environmental taxation ...

Environmental taxation is one way of encouraging a shift towards more eco-friendly choices; employed in combination with the other instruments available, it can help bring about the adjustments required to tackle the environmental and climate challenges facing us today. The aim of environmental taxation, in principle, is to factor environmental damage, or negative externalities, into prices in order to steer production and consumption choices in a more eco-friendly direction. Environmental taxation can potentially address all aspects of environmental protection and conservation. The fight against climate change, pollution – especially air and water pollution – and pressure on the environment, in particular from resource consumption and biodiversity loss, as well as contributory factors, such as gas emissions and the use of potentially harmful substances, can be the subject of tax measures. These are general or sectoral measures which are applied in different ways by individual states and their regional and local authorities. In the European Union, environmental policy and tax policy determine the scope for action of Member States and the Union. Existing environmental taxation measures account for a modest share of national tax revenue. Although the environmental aims are generally acknowledged as valid, when environmental taxation measures are implemented a range of factors must be taken into account, in particular competitiveness and fairness, to ensure that environmental taxation is sufficiently transparent to gain acceptance and so become an effective instrument in the transition that society now so urgently needs.

Bekämpfung von Mehrwertsteuerbetrug im elektronischen Geschäftsverkehr

10-12-2019

Durch Änderungen des MwSt.-Regelungsrahmens für den elektronischen Geschäftsverkehr wurde für den grenzüberschreitenden Handel zwischen Unternehmen und Verbrauchern das Prinzip der Besteuerung im Bestimmungsland eingeführt. Für die Überprüfung der Einhaltung der Mehrwertsteuervorschriften und die Bekämpfung von Mehrwertsteuerbetrug im elektronischen Geschäftsverkehr ist es entscheidend, dass die Online-Unternehmen, die Verbrauchern in anderen Mitgliedstaaten Waren und Dienstleistungen anbieten, identifiziert ...

Durch Änderungen des MwSt.-Regelungsrahmens für den elektronischen Geschäftsverkehr wurde für den grenzüberschreitenden Handel zwischen Unternehmen und Verbrauchern das Prinzip der Besteuerung im Bestimmungsland eingeführt. Für die Überprüfung der Einhaltung der Mehrwertsteuervorschriften und die Bekämpfung von Mehrwertsteuerbetrug im elektronischen Geschäftsverkehr ist es entscheidend, dass die Online-Unternehmen, die Verbrauchern in anderen Mitgliedstaaten Waren und Dienstleistungen anbieten, identifiziert werden können. Das Parlament soll im Dezember im Plenum über zwei Vorschläge der Kommission abstimmen.

Understanding BEPS: From tax avoidance to digital tax challenges

21-10-2019

Action to fight corporate tax avoidance has been deemed necessary in the OECD forum and has received further impetus through the G20/OECD Base erosion and profit shifting action plan (known as BEPS). The 2015 BEPS action plan has 15 actions, covering elements used in corporate tax-avoidance practices and aggressive tax-planning schemes. The implementation of the BEPS action plan was designed to be flexible, as a consequence of its adoption by consensus. Recommendations made in BEPS reports range ...

Action to fight corporate tax avoidance has been deemed necessary in the OECD forum and has received further impetus through the G20/OECD Base erosion and profit shifting action plan (known as BEPS). The 2015 BEPS action plan has 15 actions, covering elements used in corporate tax-avoidance practices and aggressive tax-planning schemes. The implementation of the BEPS action plan was designed to be flexible, as a consequence of its adoption by consensus. Recommendations made in BEPS reports range from minimum standards to guidelines, as well as putting in place an instrument to modify the provisions of tax treaties related to BEPS practices. In addition, putting BEPS actions into practice has involved a growing number of countries, so as to provide a more inclusive framework able to involve more countries beyond the OECD and G20 members, and build on cooperation between international organisations. The application of BEPS actions and their follow-up involves issues that remain to be implemented or addressed. Here come in particular issues beyond the avoidance techniques that were addressed in the BEPS action plan, starting with addressing tax challenges of the digital economy, building on the BEPS action1 report that defined a calendar for providing an adaptation of international tax rules to the impact of digitalisation. Based on several intermediary reports, the OECD/G20 inclusive framework on BEPS issued a work programme to develop a consensus solution to the tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy. Endorsed in June 2019 by the G20, this programme outlines the steps for modernising international tax rules. An annex to this document outlines the different international fora and instruments relevant to BEPS actions and the countries or organisations that participate in them or apply them. This briefing updates an earlier edition (PE 607.288), of June 2017.

EU listing of tax havens

21-10-2019

Broadly speaking, 'tax havens' provide taxpayers, both legal and natural persons, with opportunities for tax evasion or avoidance, while their secrecy and opacity also serves to disguise the origins of the proceeds of illegal and criminal activities. One might ask why establishing a list of tax havens or high-risk countries is useful. Drawing up such lists began with action to end harmful tax practices arising from the discrepancy between the global reach of financial flows and the geographically ...

Broadly speaking, 'tax havens' provide taxpayers, both legal and natural persons, with opportunities for tax evasion or avoidance, while their secrecy and opacity also serves to disguise the origins of the proceeds of illegal and criminal activities. One might ask why establishing a list of tax havens or high-risk countries is useful. Drawing up such lists began with action to end harmful tax practices arising from the discrepancy between the global reach of financial flows and the geographically limited scope of jurisdictions that match or exist inside national borders. However we refer to tax havens, they all have one thing in common: they allow individuals or organisations to escape from taxation. Distinctive characteristics of tax havens include low or zero taxation, fictitious residences (with no bearing on reality) and tax secrecy. The latter two are key methods for hiding ultimate beneficial owners. In the EU, the process of adopting a common list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions was initiated as part of efforts to further good tax governance, and its external dimension. On 5 December 2017, the Council adopted a first common list resulting from the assessment of third countries against distinctive criteria. Pursuing the assessment process, the Council has updated the list on the basis of commitments received, while also reviewing countries that had not yet been assessed. This briefing updates an earlier one, from May 2018 – itself an updated and extended version of a briefing from December 2017: ‘Understanding the rationale for compiling “tax haven” lists', PE 614.633 – to take account of the changes in the lists since that date.

Politische Maßnahmen der EU im Interesse der Bürger: Bekämpfung von Steuerbetrug

28-06-2019

Die Steuerpolitik und die Bekämpfung von Steuerbetrug sind in den letzten fünf Jahren infolge mehrerer aufgedeckter Steuerschlupflöcher und der damit zusammenhängenden Berichterstattung in den Medien zunehmend in den Blickpunkt geraten. Angesichts der Rezession und der daraus resultierenden Haushaltszwänge hat der Widerstand gegen schädigende Steuerpraktiken dadurch noch weiter zugenommen. Mit der Bekämpfung des Steuerbetrugs wird nun das Ziel verfolgt, nicht geleistete Zahlungen an die öffentliche ...

Die Steuerpolitik und die Bekämpfung von Steuerbetrug sind in den letzten fünf Jahren infolge mehrerer aufgedeckter Steuerschlupflöcher und der damit zusammenhängenden Berichterstattung in den Medien zunehmend in den Blickpunkt geraten. Angesichts der Rezession und der daraus resultierenden Haushaltszwänge hat der Widerstand gegen schädigende Steuerpraktiken dadurch noch weiter zugenommen. Mit der Bekämpfung des Steuerbetrugs wird nun das Ziel verfolgt, nicht geleistete Zahlungen an die öffentliche Hand beizutreiben. Ferner soll damit vermieden werden, dass Betrüger gegenüber ehrlichen Steuerzahlern Vorteile haben, also für gerechte Bedingungen für alle Steuerzahler gesorgt werden. Nicht gezahlte Steuern haben zur Folge, dass in den nationalen Haushalten und im Haushalt der Europäischen Union (EU) entsprechend weniger Mittel zur Verfügung stehen. Dabei ist der genaue Umfang nicht entrichteter Steuern naturgemäß schwierig zu ermitteln, Schätzungen zufolge ist jedoch von hohen Einnahmeausfällen für die öffentlichen Finanzen auszugehen. Die Bürgerinnen und Bürger bewerten die Mitwirkung der EU bei der Bekämpfung von Steuerbetrug besser als zuvor, jedoch erwartet die Mehrheit der Bürger in allen Mitgliedstaaten eine noch stärkere Mitwirkung. Allerdings besteht zwischen den Bewertungen und den Erwartungen der Bürger im Hinblick auf die Mitwirkung der EU weiterhin eine beträchtliche Lücke. Es besteht nach wie vor Potenzial, besser auf die Wünsche und Erwartungen der EU-Bürger einzugehen. Die Bekämpfung von Steuerbetrug liegt in der geteilten Zuständigkeit zwischen den Mitgliedstaaten und der EU. Als Teil der Steuerpolitik ist sie seit jeher eng an die Souveränität der Mitgliedstaaten gebunden, und da in diesem Bereich Einstimmigkeit und ein besonderes Gesetzgebungsverfahren vorgesehen sind, übt der Rat strenge Kontrolle über die Steuerangelegenheiten aus. Obwohl Vorschläge für begrenzte Änderungen des Steuerrahmens vorgelegt wurden, ist diese Situation seit den Anfängen der Union unverändert. Da die Defizite mittlerweile klarer identifiziert sind, hat der Präsident der Europäischen Kommission in den Reden zur Lage der Union vor dem Europäischen Parlament die Debatte erneut eröffnet. Zur Bekämpfung von Steuerbetrug gehören nicht nur Maßnahmen gegen illegales Verhalten, sondern auch Abschreckung und Maßnahmen zur Förderung der Steuerehrlichkeit. So ist eine weitreichende Überarbeitung der steuerlichen Vorschriften erforderlich, um sie auf den Umfang und die sich ständig weiterentwickelnden Praktiken des Steuerbetrugs abzustimmen. Doch bei allen Errungenschaften in der Wahlperiode 2014–2019 bleibt noch Arbeit zu tun, denn die Vorschriften müssen auch umgesetzt, durchgesetzt, überwacht und bei Bedarf aktualisiert werden, um mit der Vielseitigkeit von Steuerbetrugspraktiken sowie mit dem Tempo der weltweiten digitalen Entwicklung Schritt zu halten. Dies ist eine aktualisierte Fassung eines früheren Briefings, das vor der Wahl zum Europäischen Parlament 2019 herausgegeben wurde.

Detailed technical measures for the definitive VAT system for cross-border goods trade

20-06-2019

The common European value added tax (VAT) system was set up in 1967, and reformed in 1993, to adapt it to the entry into force of the European Union (EU) internal market. The existing rules governing intra Community trade were therefore intended to be transitory. While VAT has become an important source of revenue for both national governments and the EU budget, the current system is ill-adapted to the challenges of a modern economy. A substantial review was initiated as from 2016, to update the ...

The common European value added tax (VAT) system was set up in 1967, and reformed in 1993, to adapt it to the entry into force of the European Union (EU) internal market. The existing rules governing intra Community trade were therefore intended to be transitory. While VAT has become an important source of revenue for both national governments and the EU budget, the current system is ill-adapted to the challenges of a modern economy. A substantial review was initiated as from 2016, to update the EU VAT system and make it less vulnerable to fraud, as described in the April 2016 VAT action plan. The proposal, adopted on 25 May 2018, would amend the VAT Directive (Directive 2006/112/EC), to introduce detailed technical measures for the definitive VAT system for intra-EU business to business (B2B) trade in goods. The present proposal follows and complements the adoption of Council Directive (EU) 2018/1910 on 4 December 2018. The Parliament adopted its position on the proposal on 12 February 2019; the Council has yet to finalise its position. Third edition of a briefing originally drafted by Ana Claudia Alfieri, and subsequently updated by Laura Puccio. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Public country-by-country reporting by multinational enterprises

26-04-2019

Tax transparency has gained particular importance as a tool in the fight against tax avoidance and tax evasion, particularly in the field of corporate income tax and aggressive tax planning. Cooperation between tax authorities aims at allowing them to obtain information covering the global business of multinational enterprises (MNEs), and progress has already been made in this area. A further step in tax transparency would be to broaden it by providing publicly available information relating to tax ...

Tax transparency has gained particular importance as a tool in the fight against tax avoidance and tax evasion, particularly in the field of corporate income tax and aggressive tax planning. Cooperation between tax authorities aims at allowing them to obtain information covering the global business of multinational enterprises (MNEs), and progress has already been made in this area. A further step in tax transparency would be to broaden it by providing publicly available information relating to tax paid at the place where profits are actually made. Public country-by-country reporting (CBCR) is the publication of a defined set of facts and figures by large MNEs, thereby providing the public with a global picture of the taxes MNEs pay on their corporate income. The proposal is being considered by the European Parliament (EP) and the Council. In the EP, the amendments put forward by the ECON and JURI committees were voted on 4 July 2017. In the absence of a Council position enabling negotiations on the proposal, the Parliament adopted its position at first reading in plenary on 27 March 2019. Third edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Bericht des TAX3-Sondererausschusses

20-03-2019

Der Sonderausschuss des Europäischen Parlaments für Finanzkriminalität, Steuerhinterziehung und Steuervermeidung (TAX3) wurde im März 2018 eingesetzt, um die seit 2014 im EP auf diesem Gebiet geleistete Arbeit fortzusetzen und zu ergänzen. In seinem Bericht, der auf der zweiten Plenartagung des Europäischen Parlaments im März zur Debatte gestellt wurde, wird eine Bilanz im Hinblick auf diese Themen von anhaltender Aktualität, die erzielten Fortschritte und die noch zu verrichtende Arbeit zwecks Bekämpfung ...

Der Sonderausschuss des Europäischen Parlaments für Finanzkriminalität, Steuerhinterziehung und Steuervermeidung (TAX3) wurde im März 2018 eingesetzt, um die seit 2014 im EP auf diesem Gebiet geleistete Arbeit fortzusetzen und zu ergänzen. In seinem Bericht, der auf der zweiten Plenartagung des Europäischen Parlaments im März zur Debatte gestellt wurde, wird eine Bilanz im Hinblick auf diese Themen von anhaltender Aktualität, die erzielten Fortschritte und die noch zu verrichtende Arbeit zwecks Bekämpfung von Finanzkriminalität, Steuerhinterziehung und Steuervermeidung gezogen. Der Bericht ebnet auch den Weg für weitere Überwachungs- und Folgemaßnahmen.

Understanding money laundering through real estate transactions

04-02-2019

Money laundering through real estate transactions integrates black funds into the legal economy while providing a safe investment. It allows criminals to enjoy assets and derived funds having camouflaged the origin of the money used for payment. A number of techniques are used, namely cash or opaque financing schemes, overvalued or undervalued prices, and non-transparent companies and trusts or third parties that act as legal owners. Among the possible indicators are geographical features (such as ...

Money laundering through real estate transactions integrates black funds into the legal economy while providing a safe investment. It allows criminals to enjoy assets and derived funds having camouflaged the origin of the money used for payment. A number of techniques are used, namely cash or opaque financing schemes, overvalued or undervalued prices, and non-transparent companies and trusts or third parties that act as legal owners. Among the possible indicators are geographical features (such as the distance between the property and the buyer and their actual geographical centre of interest). In order to assess the existence of a money-laundering risk, concrete assessments of transactions and a customer's situation provide indications that help raise red flags and trigger reporting obligations. The anti-money-laundering recommendations set out by the international Financial Action Task Force (FAFT) are implemented in the European Union (EU) by means of coordinated provisions (chiefly the Anti-money-laundering Directive). Customer due diligence and reporting of suspicious transactions are tools to address money laundering. Real estate transactions involve both non-financial and financial sector parties operating under different legal requirements. Yet, reporting of suspicious transactions in real estate is limited, leaving ample room for improvement. Improvement is all the more necessary inasmuch as money laundering in general, and in the real estate sector in particular, has a major socio-economic impact, the magnitude of which is difficult to quantify. Awareness is however growing as a result not least of high profile examples of money laundering through real estate in a number of EU cities.

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