Monday, 22 August 2016

EU directive on automatic exchange of tax rulings to be implemented in Austria

The first chamber of the Austrian parliament (National Council) agreed on a bill on 6 July 2016 that would implement the amended EU mutual assistance directive on the automatic exchange of tax rulings into Austria’s domestic law. The bill is subject to approval by the parliament’s second chamber (Federal Council), which is expected shortly so the bill can be published in the official gazette.
The December 2015 amendment of the EU mutual assistance directive on administrative cooperation includes a requirement for EU member states to exchange information automatically on advance cross-border tax rulings and advance pricing arrangements (APAs) as from 1 January 2017, and to transpose the new provisions into their national law by 31 December 2016. The bill before Austria’s parliament would implement the amendments to the directive into Austria’s EU Mutual Assistance Act, as described below.
The bill contains the same definitions of advance cross-border tax rulings and APAs as provided in the amended directive. According to the legislative materials, the rulings that would fall within the scope of the automatic exchange provisions in Austria would mainly include unilateral APAs (issued under section 118 of the Federal Fiscal Code). The bill does not explicitly state whether other advance cross-border rulings would be subject to the automatic exchange provisions. Bilateral or multilateral arrangements based on provisions corresponding to article 25(3) of the OECD model tax treaty (regarding a mutual agreement procedure) would be included under the automatic exchange of
information provisions.
Starting in September 2017, Austria would exchange advance cross-border tax rulings and APAs that are issued as from 1 January 2017 with other member states on a semi-annual basis. The exchange of information provisions would apply retroactively to rulings/APAs that were issued, amended or renewed between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2016. Rulings that were issued in 2012 or 2013 would have to be exchanged only if they were still valid on 1 January 2014.
The Austrian bill includes the option offered under the directive to exclude from the information exchange rulings issued on or before 31 March 2016 to a group of companies with group-wide annual net turnover not exceeding EUR 40 million in the fiscal year before the year the ruling was issued (unless the group engages mainly in financial and investment activities).

Source: Deloitte