Since the global financial crisis, from 2007, the introduction of a financial transaction tax has been the subject of intense and controversial debate in Europe. This discussion was triggered by the low level of tax levied on the financial sector, which, since the crisis began, has had to be shored up with € 4,600 billion. As a possible way of compensating for this, on 28 September 2011, the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso presented a draft EU law to the EU Commission for the introduction of a financial transaction tax within the EU.
However, initial attempts to introduce a financial transaction tax failed because of the resistance of Britain and Sweden, both non-EURO countries. The implementation of the tax solely in the Eurozone was prevented by Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In a meeting on 9 October 2012, the ECOFIN Council decided to allow the possibility of introducing the FTT at the national level and on a stand-alone basis in each case. This would be based on the EU legal framework of so-called "enhanced cooperation" among, at least. nine EU countries. On 22 January 2103, in Brussels, the ECOFIN Council adopted a decision authorising 11 supportive member states to proceed with the introduction of a financial transaction tax.
When the FTT is introduced.
While there is general consensus about the introduction of the financial transaction tax, it is necessary to take a closer look. Here, too, the "devil" is in the detail. For example, to-date, no uniform rules have been agreed about which specific financial instruments and transactions should be taxed. For example, France - in order to protect its banks - wants to exempt various derivatives from the tax. Germany is attempting to permit as few exemptions as possible. Moreover, there is still no agreement with regard to the tax rates.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a government statement from 28.01.2014, clearly formulated Germany's position: "The whole world has to learn the lesson of the financial crisis", she said. "No financial centre or operator may remain without adequate regulation." There should be a realisation that "the state is the guardian of the regulatory system".
Institutions should already now take the following into account:
Even if the specific details of the requirements are still vague, you should now already be starting to focus your attention more clearly on the FTT. It would make sense to perform a careful analysis of the business divisions and products/transactions that could potentially be affected.
- Are IT adjustments necessary and, if yes, which ones?
- What will be the effects of the introduction of the FTT on the existing business model?
- Why should you position yourself accordingly today already?
Swift action in a short run-up period.
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