Table of Contents:


Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Taxation


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.



Tax policy in the European Union (EU) consists of two components: direct taxation, which remains the sole responsibility of Member States, and indirect taxation, which affects free movement of goods and the freedom to provide services. With regard to direct taxation, Member States have taken measures to prevent tax avoidance and double taxation. Tax policy ensures that competition between Member States on the internal market is not distorted by differences in indirect taxation rates and systems. Measures have also been adopted to prevent the adverse effects of tax competition if companies transfer money between European Union Member States.

Taxation Contents


  • Co-ordinating Member States’ direct tax systems
  • Tax treatment of losses in cross-border situations
  • Exit taxation and the need for co-ordination of Member States’ tax policies
  • Anti-abuse measures in the area of direct taxation

Company taxation

  • Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base
  • Common system of taxation applicable in the case of parent companies and subsidiaries of different Member States
  • Financial transaction tax
  • Common system of taxation: interest and royalty payments made between associated companies
  • Elimination of double taxation (arbitration)

Taxation for individuals

  • Taxation of savings income
  • Dividend taxation of individuals
  • Tackling tax obstacles to the cross-border provision of occupational pensions


  • Indirect taxes on raising capital
  • Tax- and duty-free sales
  • Taxation of heavy goods vehicles: Eurovignette Directive
  • Passenger car related taxes

Value-added tax (VAT)

  • Common system of value added tax (VAT) (‘the VAT Directive’)
  • Harmonisation of turnover taxes
  • VAT: special scheme for gold
  • VAT: special arrangements applicable to second-hand goods, works of art, antiques and collector’s items
  • VAT: labour-intensive services
  • VAT: special arrangements applicable to services supplied electronically
  • VAT: Special scheme applicable to travel agencies
  • VAT and electronic commerce
  • Exemption from VAT: final importation of goods
  • Exemption from VAT: Convention on Temporary Admission
  • Refund of VAT: taxable persons established in another EU country
  • Refunds to non-EEC taxable persons (13th VAT Directive)
  • Action plan to combat VAT fraud in the European Union
  • VAT anti-fraud strategy

Excise duties

  • General arrangements for the holding and movement of products subject to excise duty
  • General arrangements for, and the holding and movement of, products subject to excise duty
  • Excise duty on manufactured tobacco
  • Manufactured tobacco: harmonisation of the structure of excise duties in several stages
  • Cigarettes: approximation of rates
  • Tobacco other than cigarettes: approximation of rates
  • Alcohol and alcoholic beverages: harmonisation of the structure of excise duties
  • Alcohol and alcoholic beverages: approximation of excise rates
  • Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity
  • Fiscal marking of gas oils and kerosene

Tax exemptions

  • Exemptions for travellers
  • Tax free allowances: international travel
  • Tax-free allowances: small consignments of goods of a non-commercial character from Non-EU Member Countries
  • Tax-free allowances: permanent imports of personal property
  • Tax-free allowances: permanent imports of personal property
  • Tax-free allowances: temporary importation of certain means of transport
  • Tax-free allowances: permanent or temporary importation of private motor vehicles


  • Fiscalis 2013 (2008-2013)
  • Administrative cooperation in the field of taxation
  • Fiscalis programme (2003 – 2007)
  • The contribution of taxation and customs policies to the Lisbon Strategy
  • Anti-tax fraud measures
  • Recovery of claims relating to taxes, duties and other measures
  • Placing taxation at the service of research and development

Indirect taxation

  • Administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties
  • Administrative cooperation in the field of value added tax (until 31.12.2011)
  • Administrative cooperation in the field of VAT (from 1.1.2012)


Ongoing Enlargement

  • Croatia – Taxation
  • Turkey– Taxation
  • The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Taxation
  • Iceland – Taxation

Enlargement of January 2007

  • Bulgaria
  • Romania

Enlargement of May 2004

  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Poland
  • The Czech Republic
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

See also

Overviews of European Union: Taxation.
Further information: European Commission Taxation and Customs Union Directorate-General.

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