Income tax 2015

Is integration of income taxation possible in the EU?

Source: Australian Tax Forum Journal Article

Published Date: 1 Aug 2015


In contrast to the VAT regime, income taxation in the European Union (EU) remains almost fully non-harmonised. A number of factors suggest the possibility that harmonisation of direct taxes in the EU may not be as far-fetched as many believe. The first is the compulsion of mounting economic and financial stresses that may limit tax competition inhibiting harmonisation. The second is growing appreciation of the fact that unfettered judicial intervention in tax policy by the Court of Justice of the EU without the benefit of legislative guidance is no longer sustainable. The third is the effect of the abolition in the Lisbon Treaty of an EU direction to Member States to act independently of the EU to address the problem of double taxation.

The Lisbon Treaty amendments to the European governing treaties may in due course unfold in such a way that the EU has wide powers to act in the income tax field based on its responsibility for protecting the single market. And finally, the adoption in EU law of explicit processes for Member States to adopt harmonised rules in the medium term rather than wait indefinitely to achieve unanimity may open the door to greater EU income tax harmonisation in the long run.

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Income tax 2015

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