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Common EU tax base proposal completely misses the point

Wednesday, 16th March 2011

Plans published today for a common EU-wide method of computing corporate taxes are unnecessary and could damage countries that choose to have more competitive corporate tax regimes, warns Roger Helmer, Conservative MEP for the East Midlands.

The 'Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base' (CCCTB) has long been a twinkle in the Commission's eye. It is intended to create common rules on calculating corporate taxes so that multinational firms can file a single return for all of their activities within the EU.

However, Mr Helmer says that the plans remove national governments' powers to decide the structure of their taxation systems and warns that it could be a first step towards harmonisation of rates. He said that the plans are a cover by those countries that are unwilling to make structural reforms to drag the rest of the EU down to their level, rather than encouraging all EU countries to become more competitive on an international level.

Commenting from Brussels Mr Helmer added:

"There is a reason why this policy's strongest supporters are high tax regimes. Despite soothing words to the contrary, it is clear that certain countries want this as a first step towards harmonising tax rates.

"This proposal is driven by politics, not by any strong demand from business. There is no evidence that this will save money for large multi-national companies who have substantial resources to deal with multinational taxation matters already.

"This proposal enables Brussels to get its hands on the crown jewels of national governments: tax policy.

"I fear that this is the first step towards a common tax rate in the EU which would be devastating for more competitive economies. Tax competition between EU countries makes us all more competitive on the international stage.

"The European Commission has completely missed the point. We need European countries finally to take on vested interests and reform their economies, not try to drag down the more competitive economies."