Fleet News

Full tax harmonisation at least a decade away

TAX harmonisation, the last great barrier to the achievement of a truly European single market, is unlikely to be achieved for perhaps 20 years and only after overcoming massive political and financial difficulties, delegates were told at a PricewaterhouseCoopers-sponsored Fleet Show Business Forum 'Threat, Danger or Potential? The European Perspective'.

Speakers outlined the current situation regarding tax laws, the impact so far of economic monetary union, and the difficulties faced by car manufacturers, rental firms and their customers.

Richard Watson, senior partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, spoke of the disharmony of VAT rates across Europe and the challenges that face companies looking beyond their state borders for business. 'Not until we get a single monetary union and until the tax system comes together will there need to be harmonisation. But there is no unanimous agreement among the member states on how this should happen. Therefore the UK can always block it.'

A specific area of contention was the amount of VAT countries allowed companies to recover. 'This climate of differing VAT rates and rules means there are significant opportunities for leasing companies,' said.

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