Open Europe Blog

It has just been announced that at midnight last night the UK government submitted a challenge against the financial transaction tax to the European Court of Justice. The ground being that it impacts (taxes) firms and individuals located in the UK outside the FTT zone.

We’ve put together a very comprehensive analysis on what this challenge means and what could happen next. Read it here.

Here’s the summary of the key points:

Summary: The UK has today announced a legal challenge at the European Court of Justice against the EU’s controversial financial transaction tax (FTT). Despite the British Government having chosen not to participate in the measure, UK financial firms that trade with an institution in a country that does participate will still be taxed. This, the UK claims, violates EU law and is inconsistent with international tax norms.

The economic, legal and political implications of this move for future EU-UK relations are huge. As currently drafted, the tax could cost fund managers (UCITS) based outside the FTT-zone around €5.6bn while one third of all derivatives trades in the UK could be caught by the tax. Legally, it could set out the parameters for how a “flexible Europe” involving different levels of participation in the EU – which Prime Minister David Cameron has said he champions – will be governed. Politically, it’s a test of the extent to which the UK – as a non-eurozone member – can halt or change EU measures with a profound impact on its national interest. Therefore, it will be a key issue in the on-going debate about the UK’s continued EU membership, though other EU countries have also expressed concerns about the impact of the tax.

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