Eurozone businesses support EU-wide single corporate tax rate, finds global survey

LONDON--()--The majority of European businesses (53%) would support the setting of an EU-wide corporate tax rate, finds a Grant Thornton survey. Support is particularly strong among business leaders in Italy (70%), Spain (66%), France (64%) and Greece (62%), where rates are higher than the European average.

Grant Thornton’s survey also reveals that 63% of eurozone businesses would like to see further economic integration among EU member states.

Francesca Lagerberg, Global leader for tax services at Grant Thornton, comments:

“In Europe, we have continued to see downward pressure applied to corporate tax rates. This year, Italy reduced its rate from 27.5% to 24%. French president-elect Emmanuel Macron has likewise vowed to cut corporate tax from 33.3% to 25%. But rates in these countries – alongside Germany at nearly 30% - are still among the highest in the EU. Our data tells us that business leaders want a more even playing field in future. Certainly, President Macron is already pushing for more tax harmonisation across EU states.”

However, some businesses feel strongly that each country should determine its own rate, with only 6% of businesses in Ireland, 10% in Estonia, 28% in the Netherlands and 30% in Lithuania supporting the idea of an EU-wide regime. Again, there is some correlation with the low rates these countries currently enjoy (see Figure 1). Outside the eurozone, only 16% of UK businesses express their support, as divergent policy pledges on corporate tax emerge ahead of the June general election.

Table: Support for EU-wide corporate tax rate versus corporate tax rate as a percentage

         
  % support for EU-wide   Corporate tax rate*
    corporate tax rate    
Italy   70%   24%
Spain   66%   25%
France   64%   33.33%
Greece   62%   29%
Malta   45%   35%
Germany   41%   29.79%
Finland   40%   20%
Lithuania   30%   15%
The Netherlands   28%   25%
Estonia   10%   20%
Ireland   6%   12.5%

*The overall corporate tax rate can range due to local tax trade rates; the figures stated here are the current average or indicative rate for most firms in each country.

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John Vita
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