The ‘BEFIT’ initiative or the challenges of administrative simplification in tax matters


UEL positions and opinions

UEL published a position paper in response to the public consultation launched by the European Commission on the proposal for a tax directive “Businesses in Europe: framework for income taxation” (the “BEFIT initiative”).

This initiative aims to introduce a common framework for corporate income taxation in the EU.

UEL, and the Luxembourg business sectors it represents, generally support any initiative brought forward by the EU Commission to provide a fair and sustainable business environment, by:

  • Reducing the tax compliance administrative burden and the tax compliance costs;
  • Simplifying the operations across the Single Market for businesses; and
  • Facilitating cross-border activity for EU resident companies.

However, we fear that the BEFIT initiative, in its current state, may not reach its goals of simplifying the tax environment and reducing compliance costs within the EU.

Furthermore, the current design of the BEFIT initiative fails to provide clarity on key aspects of the contemplated rules (in particular on the future allocation key), which prevents MS from achieving an informed decision on this initiative.

We therefore believe that:

  • The content of this initiative should be reworked to ensure that it is an effective and efficient tool to reduce compliance costs for EU businesses, putting all MS on an equal footing and ensuring the competitiveness of the EU. One key feature of the proposal should be its full alignment with the directive on ensuring a global minimum level of taxation for multinational enterprise groups and large-scale domestic groups in the EU (the “Pillar 2 rules”);
  • In addition, the EU Commission should address with the OECD the necessity to broaden the scope of eligible of tax incentives for Pillar 2 purposes (especially in the area of the digital and green transitions), before finalizing the BEFIT rules;
  • Besides, and due to its overall complexity, it would be key to ensure that the design of the BEFIT initiative ensures a higher level of legal certainty for taxpayers, by introducing a “cooperative compliance program” in the context of the BEFIT rules and efficient dispute resolution mechanisms;
  • Finally, the EU Commission should present an updated evaluation of the impact of the BEFIT proposal on the reduction of compliance costs for taxpayers before any further discussion on that file occur at EU level. Such evaluation should also consider the final allocation key (which is missing from the current BEFIT proposal).

Find our full position below and on the European Commission website here.

Read our full position (PDF)

Also read our first position paper pertaining to this initiative, dated 27 January 2023, here.