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EU to scrutinise cross-border tax obstacles

EU Member States’ tax provisions are to be scrutinised to ensure that they do not discriminate against mobile citizens.

The focus is on both economically active individuals such as workers and self-employed, and retired persons. The initiative complements and completes a previous project which looked at the tax treatment of cross-border workers, the Commission said.

Worker mobility has been identified both as one of the key potentials for increasing growth and employment in Europe. For the EU-15, GDP is estimated to have increased by almost 1.0 per cent in the long term as a result of post-enlargement mobility (2004-2009).

However, tax obstacles remain one of the key deterrents to EU citizens leaving their state of origin to look for work in another Member State, the Commission said. Tax obstacles may arise either in the State of origin or in the new State of residence.

If discrimination or breaches of the EU’s fundamental freedoms are found, the Commission will flag them to the national authorities and insist that the necessary amendments are made. Should the problems persist, the Commission may initiate infringement procedures against the Member States in question.

Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-Fraud and Audit, said: “EU rules are clear: all EU citizens must be treated equally within the Single Market. There cannot be discrimination, and workers’ right to free movement must not be impaired. It is our duty to citizens to ensure that these principles are reflected in practice in all Member States’ tax rules.”

The Commission’s initiative will scrutinise and assess whether EU citizens residing in a Member State other than their own are penalised and taxed more heavily as a result of their mobility.

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