Saturday, March 16, 2013

EU unveils revised 'Robin Hood' tax

EU unveils revised 'Robin Hood' tax
Published on Feb 14, 2013


The European Commission on Thursday unveiled a new proposal for a tax on financial transactions that could be collected worldwide.

Only 11 EU nations want to take part, but they need to strike a deal together before the levy can become a reality.

Those countries are Germany; France; Austria; Belgium; Estonia; Greece; Italy; Portugal; Spain; Slovakia; and Slovenia.

Algirdas Semeta, EU Commissioner for Taxation said he was "quite optimistic that (those) member states will be able to reach an agreement relatively quickly."

The 11 countries that say they want to adopt the so-called FTT account for two-thirds of EU growth.

The European Commission says the tax on share, bond and derivative trades will raise up to 35 billion euros a year.

Yet its own study on the now-defunct pan-EU proposal found it would reduce economic growth.

Investors, meanwhile, argue that the costs will be passed on to savers.

James Watson, BusinessEurope chief economist, told euronews: "If you've got a pension fund and that pension is investing in companies as most fund pensions do, than in the long term you as a pensioner are going to be paying this tax".

ATTAC, a lobby group in favour of the so-called Robin Hood tax, said any revenues raised should be used for fighting poverty.

"Profits from this levy on financial transactions should be used to help development in the Third World," said Jean Flinker of the organisation's Brussels office.

"We must fight against austerity and find new ways to tax the banks, which continue to make massive profits even in a time of crisis."

Trades outside the FTT zone will not escape the levy.

If a party to the trade is based in one of the 11 nations, then the tax would apply which gives it a potentially global reach.

Non-FTT countries such as the UK are worried this could lead to discriminatory 'double taxation' and hamper the effectiveness of the EU's single market.

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