Briefing: Setting VAT rates

Council Directive 2006/112/EC lays down rules applicable to the common system of value added tax (VAT). Among other issues, the Council Directive sets a framework for VAT rates. The present VAT system is based on ‘the origin principle’, which requires that a VAT rate applicable to transaction is determined by the Member State in which the seller is located. Various studies and reports show that presently several challenges are linked to the implementation of this directive. These challenges include a gradual move from the origin principle to the destination principle, a need to fight VAT fraud, uncertainty for companies involved in cross-border trading, different VAT rates applied in Member States, obsolete rules, and the restrictive list of cases where reduced VAT can be applied, that is included in Annex III of the directive. The European Parliament has called on the European Commission to update Council Directive 2006/112/EC to respond to these challenges. Similarly, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee have recommended that this legislation be updated. Furthermore, representatives of various stakeholder groups have voiced requests regarding this piece of legislation. Finally, the European Commission has expressed a willingness to take a more effective and proportionate approach to VAT rates. It is expected that the European Commission will submit this proposal in the third quarter of 2017.

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Taxation: Commission sets out path towards fair taxation of the Digital Economy

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Press Release: Preparation of the Eurogroup and informal ECOFIN meetings, Tallinn 15-16 September 2017

Commissioner Moscovici represented the European Commission at today’s meeting of the Eurogroup. Both Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici attend the informal ECOFIN Council meetings today and tomorrow in Tallinn, Estonia. At today’s Eurogroup, Ministers held a thematic discussion on ways to increase the economic resilience of Member States in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in order to better withstand internal and external shocks. Ministers were also informed about the state of play of the stability support programme for Greece. Commissioner Moscovici participated in the press conference following the Eurogroup meeting. EU Ministers will exchange views during a working lunch on deepening the Economic and Monetary Union and maximising effectiveness of EU finances. This discussion will be followed by a working session on the same topic based on the Commission’s  Reflection Paper on the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union published in May 2017. Ministers will further debate the implications of technological innovation in the area of financial regulation as part of the Capital Markets Union. On Saturday, Ministers will hold a working session on digital economy and taxation, given the importance of adapting European tax systems to the challenges of a modern economy. The discussion comes just days after President Juncker confirmed in his State of the Union letter of intent that the Commission would come forward in 2018 with a proposal for the taxation of the digital economy. In the final working session on Saturday, the ECOFIN will look at ways to increase cost efficiency and sustainability of EU customs IT systems. Vice-President Dombrovskis will participate in the two press conferences following the ECOFIN sessions on 15 and 16 September.  (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 460 764687; Juliana Dahl – Tel.: +32 229 59914; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)

Source: European Commission

Press Release: EU economic and financial affairs ministers meet in Tallinn to discuss financial and tax issues related to innovation and the digital economy

Economic and financial affairs ministers of the EU member states will hold their informal meeting in Tallinn today and tomorrow, 15-16 September. The first gathering will be of ministers from the euro area for a Eurogroup meeting, which will be followed by a meeting for ministers and central bank governors from all EU member states to discuss strengthening the euro area and improving the use of the EU’s financial resources as well as the use of new technological solutions in the financial sector. Tomorrow, September 16, the ministers will focus on the need to modernise the EU tax system arising from developments in the digital economy. Additionally, the sustainable and cost-effective development of IT systems for the EU-wide customs union will be on the agenda as well.

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Briefing: Online Platforms: How to Adapt Regulatory Framework to the Digital Age?

Platforms, understood as a method of organising digital markets that allows two groups of users (suppliers and customers) to meet, are one of the pillars of the digital market. They facilitate its development, providing adequate solutions to the needs of the sharing, collaborative, data, and P2P economies. Platforms that often operate as marketplaces have a triangle structure where users must first conclude a contract with the platform to be subsequently able to conclude contracts between themselves. The status of platform user is very often difficult to define, as platforms allow a rapid development of the pursued activities, which pushes the users outside the realm of consumer. These two characteristics make platforms difficult to fit with the EU market and consumer regulations.

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OPP Meeting Summary: EP TRAN Committee – A European strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (7 September 2017)

A summary of the committee’s exchange of views with Commission representatives is now available.

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Press Release: Tax experts to discuss taxation of digital economy in Tallinn

A conference will be held in Tallinn on Thursday, 7 September within the framework of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union where tax experts, politicians, and scientists will discuss the present conditions in the European tax law while focusing on issues related to taxation of digital and sharing economy.

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Agenda: Working Party on Tax Questions (Direct Taxation – CCTB) (21 September 2017)

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Blog: “How IoT will impact our jobs”

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Official Journal (C Series): Commission Notice on the market surveillance of products sold online

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Briefing: Research for TRAN Committee – Transport and Tourism in Sweden

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EESC study: the digital revolution affects work organisation and skills needs and requires companies to adapt

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Event: DLD Europe: Let’s Talk About Europe (Brussels, 4 September 2017)

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Agenda: EP TRAN Committee Meeting (31 August 2017)

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Event: European Consumer and Competition Day (Tallinn, Estonia, 20 September 2017)

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Minutes: 65th Meeting of the Expert Group on the implementation of the Services Directive (11 July 2017)

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Event: Taxation of the sharing economy – analyse possible tax policies to address development of the sharing economy (Tallinn, 13 September 2017)

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Event: Smart solutions for sustainable and inclusive societies (Tallinn, 12 September 2017)

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Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Gabriel in Tallinn for a Council meeting and a conference on data economy

This week, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel participate in Tallinn, Estonia in a Digital Single Market conference on data as well as in an informal meeting of the Competitiveness and Telecommunications Ministers. The one-day conference taking place today is dedicated to the free movement of data and the speakers discuss the key framework conditions that are necessary to enable the free data flows across borders and sectors in Europe following Commission’s announced measures earlier this year. Commissioner Gabriel opened the conference this morning with a speech that is available here. Vice-President Ansip will deliver the closing remarks of the conference in the afternoon. His speech will be available at 16:05 CET here. Later this evening Slovenian Minister for Public Administration Boris Koprivnikar, in the presence of Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Gabriel, will sign the EuroHPC declaration on high-performance computing. Slovenia is becoming the ninth Member State signing the EuroHPC declaration, aimed at coordinating efforts with regards to high-performance computing. Discussions on the agenda of the Competitiveness and Telecommunications Council meeting taking place tomorrow, will concentrate on spectrum coordination and the development of the next generation of communication networks (5G). On the competitiveness side, the focus will be on public services and eGovernment. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel. +32 229 67083; Mirna Talko – Tel. +32 229 87278)

Source: European Commission

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