International Tax Review's Award: Commissioner Šemeta sets out case for eliminating tax obstacles in single market
24 May 2012, Brussels. Algirdas Šemeta, European Commissioner for taxation and customs union, audit and anti-fraud, won this year's Editor's Choice Award at International Tax Review's European Awards.
In his acceptance letter Commissioner wrote: "I am pleased to accept this award in the category "person that has had the biggest impact on tax practise or administration in Europe in the previous 12 months" as recognition that my actions to create a real single market from the tax perspective is also something important for tax professionals. In the EU we are faced with major challenges in terms of fiscal consolidation as well as promoting growth and employment. Taxation has an important role to play here.
In particular we cannot expect our citizens to accept cuts in public services and increases in taxation without first looking to ensure that existing tax rules are fully respected and that tax systems are sufficiently robust and fit for purpose. I believe that we need to concentrate our efforts on developing tax systems that ensure a fair division of the burden, are efficient and cost effective and are not open to abuse. "
Commissioner Šemeta also addressed the importance of fight tax fraud and evasion:
I firmly maintain the importance of vigorous action to fight tax fraud and evasion as well as targeting aggressive tax planning where this undermines the spirit and logic of our taxation systems. I fully subscribe to ensuring that the tax burden on business and citizens should be as light as possible while being consistent with Member States' social models. However I cannot accept that the rationale and logic of tax systems that attempt to ensure a fair distribution of the tax burden should be systematically undermined by aggressive tax planning.
In this context I believe that tax professionals can and should assist in the identification of weaknesses in tax systems. This can create benefits for those companies and individuals who fully subscribe to the letter and spirit of tax laws and seek to maintain high reputational standards."
More about the award and Commissioner's letter: click here.