Transaction tax plan illegal, say EU lawyers
LONDON - ReutersA plan to tax financial transactions in 11 European Union member states from 2014 is illegal, the bloc’s lawyers have concluded, dealing what could be a final blow to the measure as proposed.
The findings set out in a 14-page legal opinion obtained by Reuters will make it harder to press ahead with a measure aimed at making banks pay about 35 billion euros a year to make up for receiving taxpayer aid during the 2007-09 financial crisis.
The report is encouraging for Britain, which is the EU’s biggest financial centre and is opposed to the tax. Britain, and several other EU states, refused to participate, leaving the 11 to go it alone and raising questions about how it would work without full participation.
Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Slovakiaand Slovenia were planning to adopt the tax on stocks, bonds, derivatives, repurchase agreements and securities lending.
But the legal services for EU member states said in their opinion dated Sept. 6 that the transaction tax plan “exceeds member states’ jurisdiction for taxation under the norms of international customary law”.
The plan is also not compatible with the EU treaty “as it infringes upon the taxing competences of non participating member states”, the document obtained by Reuters said.