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8 June 2016

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EU Council Publishes Report on Status of Financial Transaction Tax

On 3 June 2016, the Council of the European Union published a report on the status of the ongoing enhanced cooperation procedure for the introduction of a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT). The enhanced cooperation procedure was started at the request of 11 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain) after a Commission proposal for an EU-wide FTT was abandoned in 2012 due to a lack of consensus among all Member States. Since the enhanced cooperation procedure began, the 11 Member States supporting the FTT have had difficulty in reaching final agreement, and in December 2015, Estonia decided it would no longer support the initiative.

According to the report, the remaining 10 Member States taking part in the enhanced cooperation procedure are to make final decisions on the outstanding issues by 30 June 2016. The main issues to be resolved include:

  • The application of "issuance" and "residence" principles and the territorial scope for the FTT, including whether transactions in shares issued in non-participating Member States should be exempt;
  • An exemption from FTT of market making activities, including what the definition of market making activities for such exemption should be; and
  • The scope of transactions in derivatives contracts to be subject to the FTT, and whether there should be a (possibly temporary) list of derivatives exempt from FTT.

If agreement is not reached by 30 June, it is unclear what the future of the FTT will be. Click the following link for the report, which includes further details on the discussion of outstanding issues.

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