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Finance minister: EU tax norms need to be adapted to suit digital era

Minister of Finance Toomas Tõniste (IRL).
Minister of Finance Toomas Tõniste (IRL). Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

The tax norms of the EU need to be adapted to fit in the digital era, Minister of Finance Toomas Tõniste said talking about the 2017 Estonian EU council presidency before the economic and monetary affairs committee of the European Parliament on Wednesday.

One of the priorities of the Estonian presidency was initiating a discussion in the Council of the EU about the challenges related to the taxation of profits in the digital economy, Tõniste said.

"We are deeply convinced that the EU must take urgent measures for the tax norms of the union to become suited to the digital era," Tõniste said. "The digital economy is here to stay. This is increasingly putting the valid international tax norms to a test that were developed with the traditional economy in mind."

Tõniste minister pointed out that at the meeting of the EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council last December, conclusions were adopted concerning the taxation of profits in the digital economy.

"These conclusions are a guidance for the work to be done on the EU level in the future, including serving as basis for legislative proposals by the Commission that are expected in early 2018," Tõniste said. "These conclusions should be viewed as the contribution of the EU to the discussion on that issue on the international level."

The Council of the EU also adopted legislative norms in December that make complying with value-added tax obligations simpler for online businesses.

"We are proud that an agreement was reached on the package concerning the VAT system for e-commerce," Tõniste said. "We hope that this will open up new opportunities for consumers and facilitate cross-border trade for small businesses. This is a concrete step forward in our modern and increasingly digital economy."

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS, ERR

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