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Fair and Sustainable Taxation in the EU

Press release


Tax policies may exist for the simple purpose of funding government activities, but the policies themselves are anything but simple. In the aftermath of the last financial crisis, the European Commission saw the need to examine the potential effects of globalisation on national tax systems. This led to a consortium consisting of 11 partners organised in a cross-disciplinary, EU-funded project entitled, 'Revisioning the 'Fiscal EU': Fair, Sustainable and Coordinated Tax and Social Policies', known by its acronym, 'FairTax'. The FairTax project addresses the impact of EU national tax systems on widening socio-economic and gender inequalities as well as fiscal sustainability and tax fairness issues. The project intends to help improve economic stability while promoting economic, social and environmental sustainability.

This issue’s Forum presents the FairTax research and policy recommendations based on structural problems that have been defined as tax sustainability gaps. With an eye on these gaps, Ann Mumford and Åsa Gunnarsson look at sustainability in EU tax law. The issue of gender equality and the impact of gender-differentiated changes in personal income are presented and examined using case studies and comparisons of various national tax systems. Marion Fink, Jitka Janová, Danuše Nerudová, Jan Pavel, Margit Schratzenstaller, Friedrich Sindermann-Sinkiewicz and Martin Spielauer find that the effects of tax policies vary depending on the household compositions and conclude that gender-differentiated effects need greater attention in policymaking.

Faced with growing ageing populations, all Western nations are confronted with pressing societal challenges. Speaking directly with Irish citizens, Emer Mulligan examines the pension system in Ireland in order to determine the best policy options for governments, including tax relief as a financial incentive for increasing private pension coverage and as a tool to promote intergenerational fairness, equality and social inclusion. Reviewing case studies from a number of Northern European countries over the course of several years, Lotta Björklund Larsen and Lynne Oats share their findings on cooperative compliance in the taxation of large businesses - whose size and complex operations and structure differentiate them from other taxpayers. Cooperative compliance represents a shift from a deterrence approach where taxpayers are coerced to comply with audits and penalties toward a more responsive and collaborative approach. These ideas and more are elaborated in our special FairTax Forum.

You can read more about FairTax here.