Commission welcomes the Council general approach on the FASTER initiative on withholding tax

Yesterday, the Commission welcomed the general approach announced by the Belgian Presidency of the EU Council on the Commission’s proposal for a Directive to make withholding tax procedures in the EU more efficient, secure and simplified for investors, financial intermediaries and Member State tax administrations. A key initiative to ensure fair taxation and reinforce the Capital Markets Union, this initiative will digitise tax relief procedures and bring more transparency.

Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said: “Today marks a big step forward in simplifying our tax system to facilitate cross-border investments, making it a major building block of the Capital Markets Union. It will reduce complexity, costs and make it easier and more secure to invest in other Member States. Our FASTER initiative will also ensure that investors are not taxed twice on dividends and interest payments when investing outside their own Member State. As we seek to stimulate greater investment in the EU for our overall competitiveness, we must make every effort to knock down barriers and tax plays a big part. We look forward to a smooth adoption process for FASTER following today’s general approach.”

Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, said: “With today’s agreement onour FASTER initiative, we are closer to slotting into place another building block of the Capital Markets Union. Once implemented, it will mean quicker, more efficient, and safer withholding tax procedures – benefiting investors, financial intermediaries and tax administrations alike. FASTER will encourage cross-border investment both within and into the EU, which is good news for the ability of our Union to grow and create quality jobs for our citizens.”

In terms of next steps, following a re-consultation with the European Parliament, EU Finance Ministers are expected to adopt the proposal early 2025. Implementation work will start soon after adoption.