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Europe

EU Takes Steps to Harmonize Taxes

EU finance ministers have agreed to look at ways of harmonizing the method of calculating company taxes in Europe despite opposition from five member states.

A working group will be established to investigate the harmonization of corporate tax bases. But some believe that a harmonization of tax bases is the first step towards harmonizing the rates that companies are charged throughout the EU -- a system opposed by both the Commission and the UK but supported by France and Germany. German finance minister Hans Eichel welcomed the move as a step towards corporate tax harmonization. "The first step is harmonizing the tax base and then we can talk sensibly over a minimum rate," he said according to Reuters. British Finance Minister Gordon Brown however, said that he "would not support any move towards tax harmonisation," adding: "There is no need for it and it is certainly not a priority. Economic reform is a priority." Any changes to EU tax law have to be agreed unanimously. (EUobserver.com)

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