Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Programme funding

EUR 56 million
To improve the proper functioning of the taxation systems in the internal market by increasing co-operation between participating countries, their administrations and officials, and to identify and remedy areas, such as legislation and administrative practices which make this co-operation more difficult.

Abstract

In the internal market, the effective, uniform and efficient application of Community law is essential for the functioning of taxation systems, in particular for the protection of national and Community financial interests through combating tax evasion and tax avoidance, avoiding distortions of competition and reducing burdens on administrations and taxpayers. Achieving this effective, uniform and efficient application is a matter for the Community acting in partnership with the Member States. In order to ensure uniform application of Community law it is essential that officials responsible for taxation have a high common standard of understanding of Community law and its implementation in the current and future Member States. Such a standard can be achieved only through effective initial and continuous training provided by the current and future Member States. Supplementary Community action is useful to co-ordinate and foster such training. The experience gained from the Fiscalis programme has indicated that the coordinated development and implementation of a common training programme could achieve the objectives of this programme, in particular in achieving a higher common standard of understanding of Community law.

For the purpose of this decision:
_ 'Taxation' means the following taxes applied in the participating countries:
- Value added tax;
- Excise duties on alcohol and tobacco products and mineral oils;
- Taxes on income and on capital
- Taxes on insurance
_ 'Administration' means the public authorities in the participating countries responsible for administering taxation;
_ 'Participating countries' means the Member States and the applicant countries
_ 'Official' means an official of the administration;
_ 'Exchange' means a working visit organized under the programme of an official from an administration in another participating country;
_ Multilateral control' means a co-ordinated control of the tax liability of one or more related taxable persons, which is organized by several participating countries, and having a common or complementary interest.

The objectives of the programme shall be:
_ For value added tax - to support the European Union VAT strategy as outlined in the Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, entitled 'A Strategy to improve the operation of the VAT system within the context of the internal market (5)', or any future such strategy adopted by the Commission;
_ For excise duties - to improve the co-operation between Member States, ensuring a more uniform application of existing rules and developing a common approach on legal and administrative aspects in the field of excise duties;
_ For direct taxation - to raise awareness of Community policies in the field of direct taxation and providing support for pooling experiences, information exchange and other administrative co-operation:
_ For value added tax - to support the European Union VAT strategy as outlined in the Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, entitled 'A Strategy to improve the operation of the VAT system within the context of the internal market', or any future such strategy adopted by the Commission;
_ For excise duties - to improve the co-operation between Member States, ensuring a more uniform application of existing rules and developing a common approach on legal and administrative aspects in the field of excise duties;
_ For direct taxation - to raise awareness of Community policies in the field of direct taxation and providing support for pooling experiences, information exchange and other administrative co-operation;
_ For the applicant countries - to meet the special needs of applicant countries taking the necessary measures for the accession in the fieldof tax legislation and administrative capacity.

The programme shall be open to the participation of:
_ The applicant countries of central and eastern Europe, in accordance with the conditions laid down in the Europe Agreements, in the additional protocols thereto and in the decisions of the respective Association Councils;
_ Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, on the basis of bilateral agreements on this matter concluded with these countries.

Subdivision

_ Communication and information-exchange systems
The Commission and the participating countries shall ensure that the following communications and information exchange systems are operational in so far as their operation is necessary under Community legislation:
- The Common Communications Network/Common Systems Interface (CCN/CSI) to the extent necessary to support the functioning of the other systems referred to in this paragraph;
- The VAT Information Exchange System (VIES) and its messaging systems;
- The excise movement Verification System;
- The early warning system for excise;
- The excise duty tables system.
_ New communication and information-exchange systems may be established;
_ The Community components of the communication and information-exchange systems shall be the hardware, software and network connections, which shall be common to all participating countries so as to ensure the inter-connection and interoperability of the systems;
_ The non-Community components of the communication and information-exchange systems shall comprise the national databases forming part of these systems, the network connections between the Community and non-Community components and such software and hardware as each participating country shall deem appropriate for the full operation of those systems throughout its administration.

_ Multilateral controls
Participating countries shall choose, from among the multilateral controls organized by them, those whose costs are to be borne by the Community. The participating countries shall send annual reports and evaluations concerning such controls to the Commission.

_ Seminars
The Commission and the participating countries shall together organise seminars to be attended by officials from the administrations, Commission representatives and, if appropriate, other experts.

_ Exchanges of officials
- The Commission and participating countries shall organise exchanges of officials. The exchanges may not exceed one month. Each exchange shall be targeted on a particular professional activity and shall be sufficiently prepared and subsequently evaluated by the officials and administrations concerned.
- The participating countries shall take the necessary steps to enable exchange officials to play an effective part in the host administration's activities. To this end such officials shall be authorized to carry out the tasks relating to the duties entrusted to them by the host administration in accordance with its legal system.
- During the exchange, the civil liability of the exchange official in the performance of his duties shall be treated in the same way as that of officials of the host administration. Exchange officials shall be bound by the same rules of professional secrecy as national officials.

_ Training activities
In order to encourage structured co-operation between national training bodies and officials responsible for training in taxation in administrations, participating countries shall, in co-operation with the Commission:
- Develop existing training programmes and, where necessary, devise new programmes to provide a common core of training for officials so as to enable them to acquire the necessary common professional skills and knowledge;
- Where appropriate, open the training courses in taxation provided by each participating country for its own officials to officials from all participating countries;
- Develop the necessary common tools for taxation training.
_ Participating countries shall also ensure that their officials receive the initial and continuous training necessary to acquire the common professional skills and knowledge in accordance with the common training programmes and the linguistic training necessary for those officials to attain a sufficient standard of linguistic competence.

Implementation

The Commission shall be assisted by a committee, called the 'Fiscalis Committee', composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission. The programme shall be subject to continuous joint monitoring by the participating countries and the Commission. Each year the Commission shall submit to the Committee a follow-up report setting out the progress of all the programme's activities in terms of implementation and results. The administrations of the participating countries shall send the Commission all the information necessary for follow-up reports to be drawn up as efficiently as possible.

Mid-term and final evaluations of the programme shall be carried out under the Commission's responsibility using the reports drawn up by the participating countries. The programme's effectiveness and efficiency shall be evaluated.
- The mid-term evaluation shall review the initial results and impact of the programme's activities. It shall also assess the use of funding and the progress of follow-up and implementation.
- The final evaluation shall assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the programme's activities.

The participating countries shall send the Commission:
- By 31 December 2004 at the latest a mid-term evaluation report on the programme's effectiveness and efficiency; - By 31 December 2007 at the latest a final evaluation report on the programme's effectiveness and efficiency. _ The Commission shall present to the European Parliament and the Council:
- By 30 June 2005 at the latest a mid-term evaluation report on the programme's effectiveness and efficiency and a communication on the desirability of continuing the programme, accompanied, where relevant, by a suitable proposal;
- By 30 June 2008 at the latest an evaluation report on the programme's effectiveness and efficiency. These reports shall also be sent to the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions for their information.
The expenditure necessary for the implementation of the programme shall be shared by the Community and the participating countries.

The Community shall bear expenditure as follows:
- The cost of the development, purchase, installation, maintenance and the cost of the day-to-day operation of the Community components of the communication and information-exchange systems;
- The cost of the travel and subsistence expenses relating to multilateral controls and exchanges of officials;
- The cost of the travel and subsistence expenses and other costs relating to seminars and training activities;
- Such proportion of the cost of other activities as shall be decided on a case-by-case basis

_ The Commission shall, in accordance with the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities, determine the rules relating to the payment of expenses and shall communicate them to the participating countries.

_ The participating countries shall bear expenditure as follows:
- 100 % of the development, purchase, installation, maintenance and the cost of the day-to-day operation of the non-Community components of the communication and information-exchange systems, unless the Commission decides otherwise;
- The difference, if any, between the expenditure paid by the Community and the actual cost of the activity;
- The costs relating to the initial and continuing training, including linguistic training, of their officials.

Financing decisions and any agreements or contracts resulting from this Decision shall be subject to financial control, and if necessary, on-the-spot audits by the Commission, including the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF), and by the European Court of Auditors. Any grants made pursuant to this Decision shall be subject to agreement in writing, in advance, by the beneficiaries. This agreement shall contain the acceptance of the beneficiaries to an audit by the European Court of Auditors into the use made of the financing granted.
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