SEMESTER II – JULY TO DECEMBER 2023
CFE Tax Advisers Europe’s 2023 Professional Affairs Conference
CFE Tax Advisers Europe held its 2023 Professional Affairs Conference on 21 September 2023 in Helsinki, co-hosted with the Finnish CFE Member Organisation, Suomen Veroasiantuntijat ry. The topic of the conference was “Tax Adviser 2030: Evolution Or Revolution For Tax Practice, Policy and Administration?”. Two conference panels of speakers examined the evolution of fiscal systems, tax practice and tax administration, prompted by both policy developments at EU and international level, as well as tax avoidance, enforcement of EU law in relation to taxation and impact on the tax profession.
The conference aimed to address the significant impact and evolution of regulatory developments on the evolution of the tax profession with the OECD anti-avoidance initiatives and the BEPS project, DAC Directives, EU Fiscal State Aid Investigations; the ethics of tax professionals (cf. CFE Discussion Paper on Professional Judgment in Tax Planning); the changing EU regulatory/enforcement landscape and fairness of tax arrangements observed via the prism of various tax revelations (Pandora Papers, LuxLeaks) and the fiscal State aid investigations (Apple case), and last but not least the rise of AI. Ian Hayes, President, CFE Tax Advisers Europe and Timo Matikkala, Founding Member of Suomen Veroasiantuntijat ry and Philippe Vanclooster, Chair of the Professional Affairs Committee at CFE Tax Advisers Europe, introduced the topics to be considered by the panels and welcomed the speakers and participants to the conference.
The first panel discussed the impact of EU/ OECD Developments on fiscal systems and tax policy. The panel featured a keynote speech from Prof. Dr. Vesna Tomljenović, Judge at the General Court of the European Union (GC)/ Judge-rapporteur for the Apple case. Prof. Dr. Vesna Tomljenović was joined on the panel by: Maikel Evers, Partner, EY, Head of IFA Dutch Branch; Helena Malikova, Chief Economist Team – Financial Data Manager, European Commission; Raluca Enache, Partner, Head of EU Tax Centre, KPMG; and, Dr Filip Majdowski, Deputy Director, Polish Ministry of Finance & Polish Representative to the OECD. The panel discussed what is next for tax policy, the role of tax advisers, fairness in taxation in the aftermath of BEPS, and took stock of the EU/OECD anti-avoidance initiatives with the more prominent role of the UN in tax policy, as well as the constrains on the EU Commission to investigate tax planning practices with the ‘manifest error’ doctrine established by the ECJ in the Fiat case.
The second panel analysed the significance of the Impact of AI on digitalisation of tax systems with a focus on the OECD Tax Administration 3.0 project, the work of the Forum on Tax Administration, and the road to better aligned digitalisation of European tax administrations, by looking at the Finish collaborative real-time economy project for digitalisation, presented by the Finnish Tax Administration (Finish Real Economy project). Speakers on the second panel included: Sami Koskinen, Director, Stakeholder Relationships, Finnish Tax Administration; Petra Pospíšilová, Director of Taxation, CSOB (KBC Group) and President, Czech Chamber of Tax Advisers; Piergiorgio Valente, Chair, Tax Technology Committee, CFE Tax Advisers Europe and Chair, Global Tax Advisers Platform (GTAP); and, Virpi Pasanen, Chair, Finnish Association of Tax Professionals, Partner, Deloitte.
The CFE Executive Board and CFE Brussels Office were delighted to hold the 2023 Professional Affairs Conference, General Assembly and Technical Committee meetings in Helsinki in September. The next CFE General Assembly and the 2024 Forum have been scheduled for 18-19 April 2024 in Brussels.
MEETINGS & EVENTS
CFE & EU Parliament Event: A Gender Equal Tax System in Europe: Reflections for a New Agenda – 4 July 2023
Belgium On 4 July 2023, CFE Tax Advisers Europe in the framework of our strategic cooperation with the European Parliament, together with the ICAEW Women in EU Finance Network and PwC jointly organised an event to discuss what steps can be taken to achieving a more inclusive tax system in Europe. Following keynote speeches by Kira Peter-Hansen MEP (Vice-Chair of the Sub-committee on Tax Matters) and Fabrizia Lapecorella (OECD Deputy Secretary General), panellists debated how the structure and administration of tax systems often still have different impacts on gender. With the participation of Michelle Harding (OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration), Giorgia Maffini (PwC), Helena Malikova (Chief Economist Team, European Commission) and Ana Xavier (Head of Unit, DG TAXUD, European Commission). The event, hosted by the European Parliament in their InfoHub, was moderated by Alison Ring (Director, Public Sector & Taxation, ICAEW).
Gender equality in fiscal affairs is a matter of fairness, well-being and growth. While the EU has taken steps to include a gender perspective in all stages of policy design significant challenges remain – including when it comes to tax. The structure and administration of tax systems often still have different impacts on gender. As the EU starts to look ahead towards a new legislative term, what would it take to establish a truly inclusive tax system by 2030? What needs to be done to ensure that future changes to tax systems help drive gender equality as well as responding to Europe’s green, digital and growth ambitions? Speakers offered views and reflections on a pathway towards a more gender equal tax system by 2030, and addressed questions such as: what are the key features of tax system designed to help reduce gender inequality and what is lacking today; what do policymakers and tax administrations need to do to in the next EU legislative period to build a tax system that is gender equal, green, digital and competitive; and, what lessons can be learnt from international best practice; what can be learn from the debate on intersectionality; and is targeting aggressive tax planning a feminist policy?
A summary of the panel responses to these and other questions was published in a podcast, kindly facilitated by PwC.
Fiscal Committee Opinion Statements
In the second half of 2023, the Fiscal Committee of CFE Tax Advisers Europe published 3 Opinion Statements, as follows:
- FC 7/2023 on the EU Commission FASTER Withholding Tax Proposal.
- FC 9/2023 on the EU Commission Proposal on establishing a Head Office Tax system for micro, small and medium sized enterprises and amending Directive 2011/16/EU.
Professional Affairs Committee Opinion Statements
In July 2023, the Professional Affairs Committee of CFE Tax Advisers Europe published 1 Opinion Statement:
- PAC 1/2023 on the European Parliament Report on Lessons Learned from the Pandora Papers.
ECJ Task Force Opinion Statements
In the second half of 2023, the ECJ Task Force of CFE Tax Advisers Europe published 2 Opinion Statements:
- ECJ-TF 3/2023 on Case C-322/22: Right to be paid interest on overpayment of taxes in breach of EU Law.
- ECJ-TF 4/2023 on EFTA Court Case E-11/22, RS: Compatibility with fundamental freedoms of a municipal surcharge distinguishing between residents and non-residents for the purposes of the applicable rate.
The leading European tax law journal European Taxation, published by IBFD, regularly publishes articles on selected CFE Opinion Statements of particular relevance. European Taxation has published 6 CFE articles in their journal in 2023.
CFE’s 2023 EU Tax Policy Report
CFE Tax Advisers Europe published its 2023 EU Tax Policy Report covering the period of January to December 2023. The EU Tax Policy Report is an annual publication which provides a detailed analysis of significant primary law and tax policy developments at both the EU and the international level that have occurred throughout the year, which would be of interest to European tax advisers. It also includes an overview of selected CJEU case-law and relevant European Commission decisions.
Save the Date: CFE Tax Advisers Europe’s 2024 Forum – 18 April 2024
CFE Tax Advisers Europe will hold its 2024 Forum on 18 April 2024 in Brussels at ACE Events, Avenue d’Auderghem 22, in Brussels. Further information concerning the topic and registration for the Forum will be available here on the CFE website in due course.
CFE Tax Advisers Europe General Assembly & Upcoming Technical Committee Meetings
The next CFE General Assembly, Technical Committee Meetings and Social Events will take place in Brussels between 18. and 19 April 2024. In addition, the CFE Winter Online Technical Committee Meetings will take place in the week beginning 5 February 2024.
Delegates of the CFE General Assembly and the CFE Technical Committees should have received a communication concerning the dates of all 2024 meetings, and invitation for the Winter Online Meetings. Details on how to register for the Spring General Assembly meetings and events will be distributed to delegates in due course.
The selection of the remitted material has been prepared by:
Aleksandar Ivanovski/ Brodie McIntosh