The Presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates among the EU member states every six months. During this six month period, the presidency chairs meetings at every level in the Council, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU's work in the Council. The Netherlands has recently taken the Presidency over from Luxembourg and has published its programme, which takes an in-depth look at their priorities for the coming six months. With respect to tax, focus will be set on the anti-BEPS directive and on the introduction of an anti-abuse clause in the Interest and Royalties Directive, as well as on fighting VAT fraud.
Further details can be found in the programme, and are set out below:
On 17 June 2015 the Commission presented an action plan to reform the corporate tax system in the EU. It includes a series of initiatives designed to end tax avoidance, ensure the sustainability of revenues and strengthen the internal market for business. The Netherlands Presidency will prioritise action against tax evasion and tax avoidance, including increasing transparency in efforts to tackle corporate tax avoidance, based on the package of measures agreed as part of the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project in October 2015. During the Netherlands Presidency the Commission will come forward with a proposal for the conversion of OECD BEPS measures into European legislation. The Netherlands Presidency will also see further discussion on the inclusion of a minimum effective taxation clause in the Interest and Royalties Directive.
In the first half of 2016, the Commission will publish an action plan for a more effective VAT regime, including VAT on cross-border transactions within the EU. In the context of the digital single market, an action plan for an efficient and fraud-proof VAT regime is also expected in 2016, including a proposal on VAT rates and e-commerce. The Netherlands Presidency will address these matters if the timing of the publication permits.
The question of a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) may be discussed again during the Netherlands Presidency if the leading group of member states that have opted for closer cooperation in this area agree on a proposal for a directive.The European Commission has also announced
its working programme for 2016 on corporate tax and further details can be