On 11 December, the European Commission published a voluntary code of conduct on withholding tax procedures which is aimed at reducing costs and simplifying procedures for cross-border investors.

The code of conduct makes eight recommendations:

  • Allow non-residents to claim relief from withholding directly, rather than through a resident fiscal agent.  
  • Allow digital claims for refunds of withholding tax.  
  • Greater use of IT to process reclaims/refunds, including relief at source.  
  • 6 month time limit on reclaims.  
  • Clear and comprehensive documentation available online.  
  • Single point of contact for withholding tax.  
  • Providing relief at source, where appropriate.

The code of conduct seeks a voluntary commitment from each member state to adopt the eight principles by 2019.