The CFE has issued an Opinion Statement on the European Commission Public Consultation on the Introduction of a New Corporate Taxation System in Europe (BEFIT).
The European Commission’s plans to overhaul Europe’s business taxation rules by introducing a single corporate tax rulebook, known as the Business in Europe: Framework for Income Taxation (“BEFIT”), merits a thorough dialogue with all involved stakeholders and Member states.
Given the degree of difficulty in finding a common ground concerning the reform of EU corporate taxation, our response does not necessarily represent the view of each and every Member Organisation of CFE, although reasonable efforts have been made to provide a coherent and representative view of European tax institutes and associations of tax advisers.
CFE Tax Advisers Europe recommends that the following factors are taken into consideration by the European Commission:
- BEFIT would represent a fundamental shift in the corporate tax landscape, and CFE would encourage the European Commission to defer further consideration of BEFIT until the rules for the implementation of Pillar Two have had sufficient time to be operational in practice. Only then should the European Union proceed with a process to analyse whether BEFIT would provide a benefit to tax authorities and MNEs.
- The Commission should take into account the subsidiarity principle of EU law and conduct a thorough quantitative and qualitative assessment of the impact of investment and revenue for all Member states, including sustainable revenue for the EU budget.
- Taxpayers have invested heavily over the last number of years to ensure that they comply with OECD Transfer Pricing requirements. The European Commission has not provided a rationale for moving away from that approach.
- The system will not eliminate the Arm’s Length Principle (“ALP”) and transfer pricing as we know it; it will only apply within the EU for the companies coming within the ambit of the legislation. MNEs will still be subject to traditional transfer pricing rules outside of the EU. This will create a two-tier system, which will lead to increased complexity and compliance costs for companies and tax authorities.
- The proposed ‘risk-based’ approach to transfer-pricing does not address these concerns, and instead focuses on one non-traditional transfer-pricing method, which might be controversial from the perspective of policy and practice.
- The BEFIT proposal envisages that tax authorities would operate two different tax systems in parallel, which would not meet the stated objective of administrative simplification.
- In addition to tax authorities, a two-tier system could increase the administrative burden for companies balancing on the ‘application edge’ of the BEFIT rules – i.e. if local non-BEFIT rules and BEFIT rules would deviate to a large extent, it would make moving from one system to another difficult for taxpayers (such as an SMEs).
- If BEFIT rules would be introduced, it would not be just a one-off transition from current system(s) to the new BEFIT era. Going forward there would be a number of taxpayers balancing between the two systems each year.
- If there is an objective to prevent certain companies from abusing the ALP and the transfer-pricing provisions, certain provisions must be included to deter MNEs from engaging in formula-factor manipulation.
CFE and its Member Organisations stand ready to assist the Commission in considering the issues above in the course of the policy dialogue and public consultation.
We invite you to read the statement and remain available for any queries you may have.