No deal on EU minimum tax: EU national interests prevail despite cost-of-living crisis

Published: 6th December 2022

Today, EU finance ministers again failed to agree on an EU minimum tax for multinational companies. This follows a deal struck at the international level to implement a global minimum tax.

In response, Chiara Putaturo, Oxfam EU Tax expert, said:

“Once again, EU countries have failed to agree on a plan, one already low in ambition, to implement the international minimum tax deal. EU national interests have prevailed despite the cost-of-living crisis. Some EU tax havens have lowered the ambition of the tax deal at the international level and Hungary has held up the implementation at the EU level for months. This is a loss to ordinary people who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and a win to the ultra-profitable corporations.” 

Notes to editors

Chiara Putaturo is available for comment and interview.

Last December, the European Commission tabled its proposal on the EU minimum corporate tax. Oxfam criticised its lack of ambition. The Commission’s proposal follows an agreement at the OECD level to be implemented in 2023.

Oxfam said the effective tax rate of 15 percent was far too low. The proposal includes a so-called ‘substance carve-out’. This allows companies to pay a lower tax rate than 15 percent in countries where they have many employees or tangible assets such as factories and machinery. In the manifesto with recommendations to the French Presidency, Oxfam explained how to improve the minimum tax at the EU level.

EU countries have been locked in negotiations for over a year. First, Malta was amongst the most reticent EU countries in the EU’s negotiations. Ireland, whose main corporate tax rate is 12.5 percent, has strongly advocated at the OECD level to keep the minimum tax rate not higher than 15 percent. Over the last months, first Poland and Estonia, then Hungary has blocked the file.

The European Commission identified risks of aggressive tax planning in Malta, Ireland and Hungary (together with Cyprus, Luxembourg and The Netherlands).

Contact information

Jade Tenwick in Belgium | | mobile +32 473 562260   

Julia Manresa in Belgium |  | mobile +32 47387 4426 

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