Ähnlich wie Arbeitnehmer Steuern auf ihr Einkommen entrichten, zahlen Unternehmen Steuern auf ihre Gewinne. Für Kapitalgesellschaften wird die Körperschaftsteuer und die Gewerbesteuer fällig. Personengesellschaften zahlen Einkommensteuer.
The EU would neglect its responsibility for the mismatch of tax policies among member states by implementing a taxation of the digital economy. It would translate into a tax increase for a specific group of companies, which would make the classification of digital companies alone highly controversial. This would further enlarge distortions instead of guaranteeing a level playing field. Instead of the taxation of the digital economy, the German Economic Institute suggests a two-step approach in order to avoid distortions and unfair taxation.
The fall in income tax revenues resulting from a shrinking and ageing society will place a huge strain on government finances. In 20 years’ time the annual price-adjusted revenue from income tax is simulated to be € 18 billion or almost 7 per cent lower than today.
Jean Claude Juncker might buckle again. Tomorrow, the President of the EU Commission will hold his annual State-of-the-Union speech. He could once again make room for more flexibility of the EU’s fiscal rules – and thereby meet ever louder demands of Southern European countries. However, such a move would further damage the EU’s image in other parts of the Union. The Commission should not yield.
In the course of the “Panama Papers” discussion, questions arise concerning the fiscal effects of international profit shifting and tax avoidance. A recent OECD study estimates the worldwide corporate tax losses to lie between 4 and 10 percent of the revenues. Applied to Germany, this would reflect between 3 and 7 billion Euro or maximum 1 percent of total tax revenues. However, the estimation underlies questionable assumptions and therefore severe uncertainties.
The European Commission will present its proposal for more corporate tax transparency these days. The so-called Country-by-Country Reporting will force large multinational enterprises to publish country specific profits and tax payments. By emphasizing positive aspects such as disclosing the tax contributions of global corporations, the European Commission forgets to look at the increasing red tape burden for companies and to address tax loopholes established by the national governments in the EU member states. It also risks competitive disadvantages and reputational damage for MNE by publishing sensitive company data.
Public consultation of the European Commission
The governments of the G20 countries will sign an agreement in order to fight Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) when they meet this Sunday. The expectations are high – the OECD estimates a worldwide increase of corporate tax revenues by up to 10 percent. However, tax revenues in countries like Germany are unlikely to increase. The opposite scenario seems to be more realistic.
Transparency is supposed to be the central issue during the meeting of the G20 finance ministers in Lima on Thursday. Politicians estimate this as key in order to fight against profit shifting by multinationals. The risks are widely ignored – but the potential drawbacks especially for Germany are obvious.
Tomorrow, Commission president Juncker and the European Parliament's special tax committee (TAXE) will discuss on a better exchange of information between tax authorities. They aim to counter aggressive tax planning by multinational companies. At the same time TAXE starts focusing on national tax regimes in EU member states and their critical tax incentives. That’s a step in the right direction.
Multinational companies have a reputation for deliberately reporting fewer profits in order to minimise their tax burdens. However, a recent study by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW) indicates that these global players in fact contribute more tax to the public purse than companies that exclusively do business in Germany.
Senior Economist for Financial Policy and Tax Policy
Tel+49 221 4981-736
Tel+49 221 4981-748
Personal Research Assistant of the Director
Tel+49 221 4981-606