Tax authorities across Europe continue to press ahead with the integration of tax regulations. A recent announcement by the EU Commission proposes new measures on minimum common standards and information sharing specifically aimed at tackling tax evasion and fraud. It is also proposed that minimum sanctions on those found guilty of evasion or fraud should be adopted by each member state. If adopted, it will likely result in the need for each country to amend their regulations in line with the European Directive, regardless of the quality of their existing tax code – a potential issue for the UK, which already adopts a robust approach to tackling tax evasion and fraud, but will nevertheless be forced to adopt the new regulations.
It will take time for any proposals to be fully worked into regulation and this project highlights the complexities of dealing with 27 different tax regimes and the potential competition conflicts that exist (especially with some jurisdictions being ‘tax havens’). This is, however, another change that potentially moves Europe as a whole closer to a having common tax code. How many piecemeal back door changes will it take to get to a European single tax code; the answer is, of course, a significant number but there would seem to be momentum to this and whilst it will take time, it seems that whilst it is not around the corner, the single tax code is an inevitable aspect of a single Europe.