Fabian Demicoli

Vince Farrugia presents his report on inheritance taxation at expert meeting


GRTU's Director General and EESC
Employer's representative Vincent Farrugia has today presented, as keynote
speaker, the EESC Opinion which he drafted as rapporteur on tackling
cross-border inheritance tax obstacles within the EU. The presentation took
place today during the conference entitled Tackling cross-border IHT problems
as an expert's response to the Commission's proposal. The invitation came by
the Commission because it "highly appreciated your work as rapporteur for the
opinion on inheritance tax…we would be honoured if you would present the
opinion and its main conclusions".

The number of EU citizens moving
between Member States (MS) increased from 3 million in 2005 to 12.3 million in
2010, and cross-border real estate ownership in the EU increased by up to 50%.
EU citizens who inherit assets across national MS borders are frequently faced
with taxation in two or more different MS (i.e. double or multipletaxation) and
tax discrimination. In an attempt to address these problems, the Commission
presented a Communication in 2011 and an accompanying Recommendation.

The EESC is in favour of removing
such obstacles, and welcomes the Commission's approach. The EESC however
suggests more effective measures to achieve the 
final aims. It proposes practical mechanisms that would ensure the
efficient interfacing of national tax systems while encouraging MS to operate
double/multiple taxation relief mechanisms in a more effective and flexible
manner. It encourages the Commission to look into the distortionary effects
arising from differences in the computation of the inheritance tax base by
different national tax jurisdictions, by setting common principles based on
fair net asset valuations and which safeguard the business entity unit.

The Opinion calls for actively
promoting more effective, efficient and citizen-friendly taxation systems, with
the least possible burden. Finally the EESC Opinion calls on the creation of an
EU Taxation Observatory that would contribute to the more effective resolution
of inheritance tax obstacles on an ongoing basis through research and
investigations and provide fora for consultation, collaboration and agreement
between different national tax jurisdictions.

At its 483rd plenary session, held on
18 September 2012, the EESC adopted the opinion by 135 votes to 1 with 11
abstentions. This is one of 4 Opinions adopted as EESC which were drafted by
Vince Farrugia as rapporteur. It was then published in the official journal of
the EU. 

Other keynote speakers included
Algirdas Semeta, European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union as well
as the Director and other representatives from DG TAXUD.

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