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No 15 (December 98/Décembre 98/Dezember 98)
The Business Test Panel aims to improve the assessment of the potential
costs and administrative consequences for businesses of implementing new
legislation by consulting businesses in the Member States before proposals are
made. The work of the Panel, which was established under the Action Plan for
the Single Market, concentrates on the compliance costs and likely
administrative implications of proposed new legislation.
Seven Member States participated in the first consultation (Italy, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, France and the UK). The panels in the Member States were set up in collaboration with the national business organisations. Around 1200 businesses were consulted and 525 businesses responded, which gives a reply ratio around 42 %.
The proposed amendment to the VAT rules means that a company doing business in a Member State where it does not have a permanent establishment will no longer have to appoint a fiscal representative there. Overall, businesses considered that the VAT proposal would have a positive effect.
The consultation covered 187 large companies (250 employees or more), 138 medium sized companies (50 to 249 employees), 117 small companies (10-49 employees) and 73 companies with less than 10 employees. Approximately 74 % of the businesses which replied are in the manufacturing or service sectors. The majority of the manufacturing compan ies export and/or import within the EU (211 out of 235). About half of the companies in the other sectors export and/or import within the EU.
The results can be summarised as follows:
Businesses in eight Member States are participating in the second consultation launched in November. The consultation concerns a proposal to amend the 4th Company Law Directive on companies' annual accounts, which would allow compan ies to use fair values for measuring financial instruments in their balance sheet, instead of historical cost.
The Commission intends to submit a further three or four proposals to the Panel before the pilot project concludes in the summer of 1999. A thorough evaluation of the pilot project will be made in 1999. The evaluation will concern the Member States involved in the pilot phase, companies which are members of the panel and representatives of business organisations. Follow ing this thorough evaluation, the Commission will consider whether the initiative should be put on a permanent basis.
Lise Lotte Toft
TEL: (32 2 ) 296 62 17
FAX: (32 2) 296 09 50