The European Commission’s proposal for an EU wide tax on financial transactions (FTT) has generated much public and political discussion since it was published on September 28, 2011.

EU Member States were, however, not able to reach unanimous agreement on the Commission’s proposals and it was therefore decided that those EU countries that did agree on the introduction of an EU FTT will move ahead with the proposal under the enhanced cooperation procedure. As a result, on February 14, 2013, the European Commission issued a revised proposal for a Directive to introduce a common FTT in the eleven Member States (Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Greece , Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and Slovakia) that were authorized to move forward under the enhanced cooperation procedure. Following Estonia's formal withdrawal in March 2016, ten Member States continued to participate in discussions on this file, but did not reach agreement on the design of the FTT. In December 2019, the German Finance Minister issued a revised proposal of the FTT to the EU Member States participating in the enhanced cooperation procedure. The revised proposal included an optional exemption for pension schemes and a new system for mutualization of the FTT revenues, meaning the revenue generated would be allocated between the Member States wishing to introduce the tax. This proposal is still under discussion in the relevant working groups. 

In parallel, the FTT has also been mentioned as a possible new EU own resource as part of the Union’s long-term budget (the multiannual financial framework – MFF) and the EU’s recovery fund (Next Generation EU), whereby the European Commission committed to put forward a proposal by June 2024. However, in the working document (PDF 1.7 MB) to the proposal for a second basket of own resources acknowledges that no substantial discussions have been held since February 2021 – when the Portuguese Presidency of the Council proposed an inclusive discussion among all Member States on tax design issues of the FTT at EU level. As such, in the European Commission’s view, the FTT is unlikely to materialize in short term.

In the meantime, several Member States (e.g. France, Italy, Spain) have introduced unilateral financial transaction taxes. 

Financial sector organizations have a clear need to stay informed of developments in this area and the potential impact these may have on their business. In order to meet this need KPMG member firms have set up an FTT technical and business support unit, coordinated by KPMG’s EU Tax Centre. The unit combines tax and industry specialists from KPMG member firms in key European jurisdictions and is supported by a detailed knowledge and information sharing platform.

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