On September 22, 2017 the Dutch Minister of Finance sent the Dutch parliament a summary of discussions of the EUROGROUP and informal ECOFIN meetings of September 15 and September 16, 2017. Below we will focus on the summary of discussions of the informal ECOFIN meeting of September 16, 2017 as provided by the Dutch Minister of Finance.
During the informal ECOFIN meeting the Ministers discussed the challenges of the digital economy for corporate income tax purposes and the possibilities to avoid taxation. The discussion revealed that an international theme as the digital economy benefits from a global approach. This could be done by the OECD that was already at the basis of the recently established new tax regulations (like for example the so-called BEPS project). At least for the short term, several countries also see a role for the EU. Prior to the ECOFIN meeting France, Germany, Italy and Spain drafted a joint letter in which they request the European Commission to explore the potential establishment of a equalisation tax for companies that are active in the digital economy. By now 6 more countries have signed the letter. What the Dutch position in this will be, is left to the next government. There was support to further discuss the digital economy on a EU level, although there were many questions on how such a tax can actually be shaped. Also there is a need to get a better understanding regarding the exact nature of the potential problem of the digital economy. The Estonian Presidency has put the digital economy highly on the agenda. In this respect the Presidency is thinking about creating a system for raising taxes over profits of companies that do have a substantial presence in a market but that do not have a physical presence to which potential profits can be attributed. The proposal of the Estonian Presidency to take a joint EU-position regarding the next steps to be taken during the ECOFIN meeting of December 2017 got support. This position can then be used as input in the OECD and the G20 meetings of April 2018, where an interim report of the OECD on the taxation of the digital economy will be on the agenda.
Click here to download the summary of discussions as sent to the Dutch parliament by the Dutch Minister of Finance.
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