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.