Commission Question – Taxation competences

Question to the Commission for written answer E-010269/2015

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: Taxation competences

Could the Commission clarify which article(s) in the Treaties gives the Commission power to instruct the Member States on issues surrounding taxation? In light of the Commission’s release of a list of 30 territories considered to be ‘tax havens’ and its intention to crack down on tax avoidance, does the Commission have the competence to regulate tax across the EU and implement new taxation in any of the 28 Member States?



Answer given on behalf of the Commission by Mr Moscovici (19.8.2015)

Article 115 TFEU allows for EU action in taxation where they directly affect the establishment or functioning of Internal Market. The fight against tax evasion and avoidance is a clear example of an area which affects the Internal Market. The cross-border nature of these problems makes it very difficult for Member States to effectively tackle them alone. It is also important that Member States coordinate their tax systems, so that each can apply their own national tax policy without being undermined by another Member State’s approach.

Member States fully acknowledge the need for EU measures to help tackle tax evasion and tax avoidance. For example, the European Council in December 2014 asked for stronger EU transparency requirements for tax rulings, to which the Commission responded with a proposal in March 2015.

The pan-EU list published on 17 June 2015 responds to Member States’ calls in ECOFIN (in May 2013 and June 2015) for measures to ensure that third countries meet appropriate standards of tax good governance. It is part of the work to build a common external response to corporate tax avoidance, in order to protect the Single Market from profit shifting towards third countries. The pan-EU list is a consolidation of Member States’ own national lists, which they provided to the Commission. The publication of this information was discussed and agreed with Member States in the Platform for Tax Good Governance in 2014. 

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