As a result of the crisis, public debt in all 27 EU Member States jumped from below 60% of GDP in 2007 to 80% for the years to come. The financial sector has received substantial financial support from governments. EU Member States have committed € 4.6 trillion to bail out the financial sector during the crisis. In addition, the financial sector has benefited from low taxes in recent years. The financial sector enjoys a tax advantage of approximately €18 billion per year because of VAT exemption on financial services. A new tax on the financial sector would ensure that financial institutions contribute to the cost of economic recovery and discourage risky and unproductive trading.
The financial transaction tax aims at taxing the 85% of financial transactions that take place between financial institutions. Citizens and businesses would not be taxed. House mortgages, bank loans, insurance contracts and other normal financial activities carried out by individuals or small businesses fall outside the scope of the proposal.
The Commission has explored the idea of taxing the financial sector at EU level for several months now. On 29 June 2011, the Commission announced in the context of the multiannual financial framework that it would propose to set up a financial transaction tax as an own resource for the EU budget (IP/11/799, MEMO/11/468).
The decision followed an analysis of different tax instruments to make the financial sector contribute to the recovery of the EU economy.
In parallel, the Commission has explored ways to introduce a financial transaction tax at global level since 2009 with its international partners in the G20 (Pittsburgh, Toronto).
The proposal will be discussed by all Member States in the EU's Council of Ministers and the Commission will present it to the G20 Summit in November.
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