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Malta Reiterates its Tax Position

Malta Reiterates its Tax Position at ECOFIN Meeting

May 2016

At the latest Ecofin meeting held in Brussels, Malta together with nine other member states expressed their intention to oppose the approval of a package aimed at stopping tax avoidance, to be discussed during a meeting of EU finance ministers next week.

The proposal’s seek to severely dilute member states’ abilities to make so-called ‘sweetheart tax deals’ with large multinationals, which the EU Commission equates to implicit illegal state aid deals, which can severely distort the common market and effectively give multinationals an unfair competitive advantage allowing them to consolidate and further their market share whilst hindering competition., to the detriment of the consumer and other market players.

Malta’s stance was that it does not engage in any such preferential tax schemes, thereby ensuring a level playing field. It would therefore be draconian and onerous to impose harmonised blanket tax rules under the guise of removal of ‘sweetheart tax deals’. Malta, does not allow any derogation from its tax rules. It employs an attractive tax regime that does not discriminate between one company and another, independently on size, origin of profits, negotiation power etc.

Malta also used the ECOFIN meeting to stress the need to respect primary EU law in the application of anti-abuse legislation. Following the conclusion of the meeting, Professor Scicluna, Malta’s Finance Minister, stated that efforts would continue in seeking and obtaining reassurances on Malta’s tax system.

Malta’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, spoke about the importance of the financial services sector to the local economy, adding that a new approach was necessary to ensure that the local industry remains competitive and relevant in the global context. Speaking at Finance Malta’s ninth annual conference, Prime Minister Muscat concluded by saying that although Malta was in favour of regulations that addressed abusive tax avoidance practices, he urged EU regulators not to move towards a position of over regulation, imposing a one-size-fits-all over member states.

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