Full text: Taxation of foundations in Europe

57 
OUTLOOK 
After the end of the current financial and economic crisis, it will become clear that the billons 
that were distributed to support the economy and save companies also have to be earned 
somewhere. Not all bailout packages for banks and companies will have the desired effects. 
As a consequence, the governments will have to call upon the taxpayer – not only in Austria, 
but in all European and in many other countries all over the world. The neoliberal deregula-
tion model was a major contributing factor to tax relief of financial capital, and certain finan-
cial products have turned out to be accelerators of the crisis. It is difficult to imagine that the 
invoice is only to be presented to wage-earners and consumers. It will be a European re-
sponsibility to make it more difficult to avoid taxation on large asset holdings. The necessary 
measures will be:  
 
? the abolition of tax havens in Europe including the Channel Islands; 
? the introduction of a European-wide tax on financial transactions; 
? the introduction of principles of international tax law that limit operating expenses for com-
panies in tax havens; 
? the abolition of the banking secrecy which is a protection against tax authorities; 
? the abolition of individual regulations that aim at withdrawing capital from other member 
countries (to be achieved by means of a stricter code of conduct); 
? the abolition of specific “tax havens“ such as the institution of the Austrian private founda-
tion; 
? harmonisation of the direct taxation system with minimum requirements for tax rates and 
other elements of tax systems. For instance, it is not acceptable that Austria levies no tax 
at all on legal transactions without consideration, while these transactions are subject to 
taxation in the remaining EU-15. Austria, by exempting such transactions, is creating a 
new tax haven. Nor is it acceptable that Austria and some new member countries do not 
recognise any wealth-related taxes except for land tax and that some countries make cor-
porate tax a trifle tax. 
 
Direct taxes are a significant basic condition of competition in a common economic area. 
Such basic conditions should not be the object of competition themselves. The unanimity rule 
which applies to most tax matters and which enshrined in the Constitutional Treaty has been 
an obstacle to far-reaching harmonisation measures. However the pressure by the obvious is 
growing: 
 
? On the one hand, companies become increasingly active on a transnational basis, and 
they are not eager to apply fundamentally different profit determination rules for each 
permanent establishment they may have in the different countries of the EU. Compliance
        

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