This week the council of the EU adopted the position on public CbC reporting paving the way for final approval on the EU directive by the parliament in November. This implies that EU public CbCR might become reality for multinationals as early as 2023.
On 28 September 2021, the legislative process for the adoption of the EU public country-by-country (CbC) reporting directive took a step forward when the Council of the EU adopted its position at first reading, paving the way for final adoption of the directive. The Council’s decision follows a provisional agreement reached with the European Parliament in June 2021 after informal negotiations between representatives of the Parliament, the Council, and the European Commission.
Cyprus and Sweden are understood to have voted against the position, and the Czech Republic, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Malta to have abstained. The vote follows a statement issued by some member states in the Council on 20 September 2021 criticizing the legal basis used for adoption of the proposed public CbC reporting directive. Croatia is of the opinion that the agreed proposal should not become a precedent for qualified majority voting on tax matters within the Council, while Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, and Sweden openly questioned the legal basis, considering that adoption of the proposed public CbC reporting directive should require unanimity. It remains to be seen whether these member states take further action in the form of an appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union against the legal basis of the directive, knowing that qualified majority voting has been used to adopt CbC reporting obligations for the banking and extractive sectors and given that this proposal aims to improve transparency, not to harmonize taxation in the EU.
According to the Council’s 28 September 2021 press release, the CbC reporting directive is intended to enhance the corporate transparency of large multinational companies by requiring certain multinational undertakings with annual global consolidated revenue exceeding EUR 750 million to disclose publicly in a specific report and on a country-by-country basis, corporate income tax information relating to their operations in each of the 27 member states, as well as information for certain third countries on the EU list of noncooperative jurisdictions. This is expected to be the case by mid-2023, following the transposition of the directive into the national laws of EU member states. Non-European multinationals doing business in the EU through subsidiaries and branches will have to comply with the same reporting obligations as EU multinationals. The reporting will be required within 12 months of the balance sheet date for the relevant financial year. The directive sets out the conditions under which a company may defer the disclosure of certain information for a maximum of five years and also stipulates who is responsible for ensuring compliance with the reporting obligation.
The next step before the directive can enter into force is the formal approval by the European Parliament of the June 2021 provisional agreement, which is expected to be scheduled for one of the Parliament’s two plenary sessions in November and is widely considered to be a mere formality.
The directive will enter into force on the 20th day following its publication in the EU Official Journal. Member states would be required to transpose the directive into their national legislation within 18 months after the date of entry into force.