Guide

Taxation law in Europe

Introduction

Taxation policy in the European Union (EU) operates alongside national taxation systems. Broadly speaking, it aims to:

  • raise revenue
  • improve the working of the market economy

The standardisation of taxation issues in all EU member states is seen as an essential part of the Single Market. Taxation policy aims to eliminate distortion of the Single Market - for example, where foreign companies are taxed differently to domestic companies, or where businesses or individuals have to pay tax twice.

This guide explains the EU's policy on taxation, summarising the main legislation introduced in recent years, the European VAT regime, plans for common corporate taxation, and how national tax authorities can co-operate.

It also explains programmes and electronic systems such as Fiscalis and the VAT Information Exchange System that are designed to increase co-operation, reduce fraud, and speed up processes for individuals and businesses.