New guidelines were announced by the European Commision on withholding taxes to give assistance to the EU Member States so that they can see a reduction and simplicity in processes required for cross-border investors operating in the EU.
An EC release explained that a new Code of Conduct provides solutions so that investors do not have to pay taxes twice on income which they get from cross-border investments as a result of withholding taxes. As an example, if this is withheld at a source in a country which is part of the EU where investment income is created (for example royalties). Since the income is likely taxed in the EU Member State were the investor has residency, issues arise from double taxation. Certainly, investors are able to file a claim when this happens, but the procedure takes a lot of time and expense, as well as being challenging.
The recommendation of the EC is within the Capital Markets Union Action plan which has the purpose of improving the systems for investors. This is especially the case when it comes to the Code of Conduct which has the aim of reducing the difficulties faced by small investors when they engage in cross-border business. There is also an expectation that, a quicker and simpler procedure will be in place for refunding taxes.
Implementing the Code of Conduct is on a voluntary basis for EU Member States. It gives a snapshot of the issues which cross-border investors deal with and show a more efficient tax process which can be implemented, as well as outlining practical means that EU Member States can address the challenges, these include.
– Ways of giving assistance to small investors who find the rules around the refund of withholding taxes complicated.
– The provision of user-friendly digital forms for the application for withholding tax relief where overpayment is concerned.
– A timeframe for tax authorities to grant the withholding of tax relief.
– One sole point of contact in the EU Member State tax administration for investors to use for their withholding tax queries.
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