Varga wants rethink of EC measures re aggressive tax planning

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Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga has proposed a rethink of measures to counter tax avoidance presented by the European Commission at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday, arguing they would disproportionately increase the administrative burden on businesses, state news wire MTI reported.

The meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin), comprising economics and finance ministers from member states, discussed the ECʼs proposal to introduce a mandatory disclosure regime for aggressive tax planning schemes. Such schemes take advantage of the technical features of a tax system or mismatches between two or more tax systems to reduce overall tax liabilities.

There is no assurance the cost of complying with such a directive can be recouped, Varga argued, according to a statement released by the Ministry for National Economy.

Hungary supports all EU-level measures that crack down on tax evasion and is open to discussing the ECʼs initiative, he added, acknowledging that the proposal has not been fleshed out entirely and needs to be negotiated further.

Varga pointed out that Hungary has boosted tax revenues by HUF 420 billion over two years with a series of measures designed to reduce tax avoidance.

An impact assessment attached to the ECʼs proposal noted that a public consultation on the need to impose mandatory reporting obligations for aggressive tax planning schemes was supported by 95% of NGOs and 68% of private citizens, but by only 17% of business associations and tax advisors.

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