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EU Defeated By Bean-Counters

Jeremy Hetherington-Gore Unleashed
07 September, 2008

EU Tax Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs seems to have given in to pressure to back away from the Common Consolidated Company Tax Base (CCCTB), perhaps while the French lean on the Irish to have another bite at the Lisbon cherry.

Kovacs told a meeting of the International Fiscal Association in Brussels last week that work on the CCCTB is not complete: "I should like to take this opportunity to clarify that I would rather present a perfectly elaborated and well justified product at the appropriate time than present an incomplete one just to meet an artificial deadline".

The supposed - but illusory - threat to Irish tax independence was one of the arguments used by the Irish antis to derail the country's approval of the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum.

Irish accountancy bodies are particularly vociferous against the CCCTB, one hopes not because it would cost them fee income when the presentation of profit and loss accounts becomes harmonized across Europe.

How is it possible to defend the patchwork of 28 sets of stupefyingly complex rules which international companies have to contend with in Europe? Only a madman (or an accountant) could want such a system. Of course this one wasn't invented by anyone. It's just a pity that Napoleon didn't have a go at cross-border accounting, or we might have a more sensible system.

As to the argument that the CCCTB is a Trojan Horse for the harmonization of tax rates; this is just puerile. Of course, it is true that corporate tax rates will be harmonized - but down to zero, and that will happen in the next twenty years. But that's another story.


About the Author

Jeremy Hetherington-Gore Unleashed

Jeremy tackles the difficult issues head on!


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