The next Economic and Financial Affairs (ECOFIN) Council will take place on March 12, 2019. Several tax topics are on the agenda for this meeting. The information provided below is based on the Agenda highlights as published on the website of the European Council and on the annotated agenda for these meetings that the Dutch Ministry of Finance has sent to the Dutch House of Representatives.


EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes

The Council will review the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes and is expected to adopt new conclusions on the matter.


During the ECOFIN Council of December 5, 2017, the first list of non-cooperative jurisdictions and committed jurisdictions was adopted. The latter group of jurisdictions did not meet the minimum tax standard but indicated at a high political level that at the latest by the end of 2018 they would comply with the minimum tax standard.


This ECOFIN Council will therefore mainly focus on assessing the jurisdictions that have committed to meet the following minimum standards: 

1.     Fiscal transparency: the jurisdictions comply with the worldwide standard in the field of exchange of information for tax purposes; and

2.     No harmful tax competition: the jurisdictions do not apply harmful preferential regimes or harmful generic 0% regimes, and

3.     The jurisdictions participate in the OECD's international process to combat base erosion and profit shifting


According to the Dutch Minister of Finance it became clear during the preparatory meetings that a large group of jurisdictions fully meets the minimum standard and that they will therefore be removed from the list. He furthermore states that the number of jurisdictions on the blacklist will increase and that a group of jurisdictions will remain on the grey list.


Digital services tax

Ministers will also hold a policy debate on the digital services tax, in the broader context of digital taxation, also in view of international developments.


VAT e-commerce

During the ECOFIN, the presidency aims to reach a general orientation on the proposals containing (implementing) provisions for e-commerce.


On December 11, 2018, the Commission announced a proposal for new detailed measures that will pave the way for a smooth transition to new VAT (Value-Added Tax) rules for e-commerce that come into force in January 2021. These include, a.o., additional provisions concerning the VAT liability of platforms and additional provisions per 2021. Process provisions relating to the extension of the MOSS system to OSS and I-OSS are also further specified.


Excise duties

The Council is expected to reach a political agreement on the EU framework harmonising the structures of excise duties on alcohol and alcoholic beverages. The aim of the proposal is to modernise the current rules in order to improve the business environment and reduce costs for small alcohol-producing businesses.



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