Cover EconPol Policy Report 8 2018

Dissecting the EU’s Recent Anti-Tax Avoidance Measures: Merits and Problems

Richard Collier, Seppo Kari, Olli Ropponen, Martin Simmler and Maximilian Todtenhaupt

Profit-shifting activities by multinational enterprises (MNEs) is widespread. Academics and policymakers agree that such activity should be curbed by diminishing the opportunities that exist within the international tax system The EU has legislated to reduce the scope for such activity, with a central tool being the Anti-Tax Avoidance Package. In this EconPol policy report, the authors argue that while elements of the package are likely to raise the minimum standards of anti-tax avoidance measures in Europe, they still leave scope for tax-planning. At the same time, the measures may lead to double taxation. They will also make the tax code more complex and distort firms’ decisions, generating social costs as a result. The balance between benefits and costs is not satisfactory. The authors discuss the pros and cons of other instruments like withholding taxes and formulary apportionment. While these measures would be of some help, in the long term, a fundamental reform of the international tax system is necessary.

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Richard Collier, Seppo Kari, Olli Ropponen, Martin Simmler and Maximilian Todtenhaupt: Dissecting the EU’s Recent Anti-Tax Avoidance Measures: Merits and Problems, EconPol Policy Report 8, September 2018.