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Concern over the slow economic recovery in the European Union has meant that tax policy in European Member States has increasingly been used as an instrument to help promote economic growth. Member States have historically had the right to set their own fiscal policies and many have used these to attract investment from particular industries or permit particular operations by companies in the hope to gain a larger share of global business. This has resulted in increased competition between countries not only in the way they set corporate tax rates but also in how they use tax incentives. However some domestic rules are now under the spotlight, as the European Commission starts to investigate certain regimes deemed unfair by their critics.
The latest round of European Commission queries have concerned IP box regimes, but this is now widening in scope to include tax rulings between a Member State’s tax authority and relevant companies as the Directorate General for Competition plays an increasing role in the investigations. (more…)