Taxation and customs
Commission proposes new European cooperation programme
By Tanguy Verhoosel | Wednesday 09 November 2011
The European Commission adopted, on 9 November, a proposal for a new programme - Fiscus - designed to improve the effectiveness of national customs and taxation systems and to enhance cooperation in these areas. With a budget of €777.6 million for 2014-2020, it would finance projects addressing these needs.
The Commission’s initiative forms part of the proposal for the EU’s next multiannual financial framework presented last June.
Fiscus, if approved by the states and the European Parliament (at the end of 2012, hopes the Commission), will merge two separate programmes for taxation and customs into one.
It will incorporate and further develop the objectives of the two existing programmes: to protect the financial interests of the EU and its member states by strengthening the fight against fraud and tax evasion, to facilitate trade by reducing administrative burdens on companies that operate transnationally and guaranteeing the proper application of EU law, to block the entry of hazardous products into the EU, etc.
Everyone stands to gain from this effort, especially during this period of crisis, notes the Commission. “We will continue to protect our citizens, businesses and budgets, while improving our capacity to meet new challenges that may lie ahead,” commented Algirdas Semeta, commissioner for taxation. Among such challenges, the Commission mentions further development of e-commerce, which obviously represents an opportunity for businesses and consumers but increasingly obliges customs administrations to develop new approaches to collect revenues and prevent tax evasion.
The accent will be placed on improving the effectiveness of national customs and tax administrations, which will involve better coordination and cooperation, including transversal, in these areas.
The Fiscus programme will help finance different projects designed to achieve these objectives.
The proposed regulation identifies three types of eligible actions: “joint actions,” allowing member states to pool knowledge and expertise and share information - especially in the area of information technologies; “training activities,” in which more attention will be given to online collaboration between administrations to help save time and cut costs; and “European information technology systems”. Under the latter type of action, the Commission will help customs and tax administrations to become fully-fledged e-administrations, making procedures quicker, less expensive and more efficient.
The document is available at