Monday, May 16, 2005

EU taxes galore

Following our piece on the EU airline tax, Chris, over at Strange Stuff draws our attention the a paper on EU taxation produced by the EU commission last year.

For the serious EU-watcher, this is compulsory reading. It sets out technical options for attracting a revenue stream independently of member states, in the form of "an examination of possible individual taxes that could be assigned to the European Union".

The authors look at nine possible taxes, including corporate and individual income taxes. Interestingly, there is some emphasis on "visibility" which is seen as an advantage in "increasing transparency of EU financing and thereby foster the involvement of the parliament in budgetary matters". This, it is felt, "could have positive consequences in terms of efficiency".

With not a trace of irony, the authors then offer the view that "as taxpayers tend to question the use and amount of taxes they pay, they also force the tax authorities to better justify the use of resources and to make best use of them". This "may impact on the accountability of a government", they say.

Technical paper this may be, but it confirms that EU taxes are definitely on the agenda, as if we did not know that already. But, as we all know, once EU bureaucrats get an idea, they will not let go of it. It is only a matter of time before the subject moves from the domain of the technical wonks onto the political agenda.

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