The European Commission has released an Action Plan for fair and efficient taxation in the EU, with a revised CCCTB at its centre.
European Taxation Commissioner Pierre Moscovici is known to be a champion of the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base ("CCCTB"), the main purpose of which is to allow multinationals operating in several Member States to use a single set of tax rules instead of one for each State in which it operates (currently up to 28). The idea was first proposed in the early years of the 21st century, with legislation put forward in 2011, but it met strong resistance from the UK and Ireland, among others, and it did not progress.
The original proposal was for an optional CCCTB, but the current plan (which will be embodied in a new proposal in 2016) is for it to be mandatory, and adopted on a step-by-step basis. This would mean adopting first of all "other aspects" of the CCCTB, such as the common base, and certain anti-avoidance measures in line with BEPS (e.g., on permanent establishments and CFCs). Consolidation (the most controversial aspect) would require groups to use a complex formula to ensure fair payment of tax where profits are earned and not just where companies are based; it would be introduced at the next stage. To enhance its attractiveness, the CCCTB package would include cross-border loss off-set, allowing a parent company in one Member State to obtain temporary loss relief for losses of a subsidiary in another Member State.
Many reactions have so far been negative, with the fear remaining that consolidation would lead to formulary apportionment. Moreover, many of the issues that the CCCTB is meant to address would be covered by BEPS anyway. It is doubtful whether the proposal, even in its new modified form, will obtain the required unanimous consent.
Other aspects of the Action Plan target transfer pricing regimes, improved transparency and co-operation. It was confirmed, however, that harmonisation of tax rates across the EU is not on the agenda.