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What’s your take on the future of taxation?

What’s your take on the future of taxation?

What’s the right tax mix for the EU over the next 20-30 years? The European Commission held a high-level Tax Symposium in Brussels to answer this question.

Europe’s tax debate is underway! On 28 November, the European Commission launched the Tax Symposium in Brussels to explore how to re-design our tax systems in the face of challenges such as Europe’s ageing population, climate change, globalisation and digitalisation. 

Participants at the EU Tax Symposium comprised a mix of academics, policymakers and civil society representatives.

Among the key topics discussed were the multiple changes and challenges societies and economies are facing today, and the ways taxation must adjust to reflect them. From the energy crisis to the war in Ukraine and the various inequalities as they manifest around the world, the issues at stake indicate that taxation has to broaden its scope and purpose. In his keynote speech, Paolo Gentiloni, European Commissioner for Economy, said taxation is more than generating revenues for governments. 

Taxation should be tailored to each country’s particular economy and needs. One of the challenges identified by Zbyněk Stanjura, Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic, is the difficulty in finding “a tax mix that suits all countries. Each EU Member State needs a new tax system adapted to its own economy, especially in the area of direct taxes. One size does not fit all.”

Exploring cycles and shocks

The Symposium focused on the following taxation priorities: adjusting to economic cycles and responding to shocks.

For instance, a new taxation system must be able to react to the shocks (such as the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, climate change) promptly and ensure these are part of the way forward, informing the steps to be taken not only in Europe but globally. 

The role of taxation in supporting EU energy autonomy and sustainable growth was also discussed. Participants explored how taxation can help Europe meet its climate goals and how taxation systems could be reformed to incentivise the climate transition. A key point raised was the shift of the tax burden away from labour and towards the use of natural resources. 

Overall, the Tax Symposium highlighted both strengths and weaknesses of the European taxation system. It was widely agreed that Europe has done well in terms of making progress during the most difficult of times by presenting a united front. However, there is still a need for better external representation of European tax issues. 
Looking to the future, the EU is committed to shaping a greener, fairer and more transparent tax experience for the next 30 years. 

For more information on the Tax Symposium, visit the conference website

Checkout TAXEDU’s Resources online section. Find out about the different types of taxes and take a quiz about the impact of taxes.