Fortum’s comments on the proposal for a Council directive on business in Europe: framework for income taxation (BEFIT)

Fortum Oyj (EU Transparency register ID 03501997362-71)

One of the prerequisites for responsible legislation is to hear the views of the various stakeholders, including business. Fortum wants to contribute to predictability and clarity of tax regulations, thus appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Commission's proposal directive on BEFIT – the single EU tax base. Harmonisation and simplification in tax regulations contribute to increased predictability, clarity and certainty, as well as a reduction of the administrative burden and costs within the EU. Well-designed regulation support these objectives and we strongly welcome objectives of BEFIT.

BEFIT proposal is not ”just” a tax directive, but a fundamental change in the tax system and internal market.  To ensure rule of law and competitiveness of EU and Member States as a domicile for businesses, the proposal should be clear, predictable and simplify the existing tax system. In contrary, based on the BEFIT proposal different tax treatment applied to the same investments will negatively impact competitiveness and functioning of the EU internal market.

Our comments are about the impacts of the BEFIT proposal on the EU internal market and especially on the green transition.

  • We recommend revisiting the proposal to assure that tax treatment applicable to investors is not dependent on the origination, size or ownership set-up. This would create predictability, be an example of responsible legislative process and true promotion of the EU internal market. 
  • Secondly, we recommend performing the adequate impact assessment to understand impacts to business, green transition and functioning of internal market. Businesses experience how unclarity and administrative burden have multiplied the compliance cost and slow down investment processes as attention must be attracted to new rules. That is not in line with harmonization and simplification. 
  • Thirdly, we recommend considering which rules, such as the Minimum tax, could be replaced by BEFIT. We find the proposal as complex and overlapping with other tax regulations. Critical is to assure sufficient explanatory notes, guidance for interpretations and defined criteria (which are currently missing from the proposal).

Fortum has committed to B Team’s responsible tax management principles; we have publicly reported our tax footprint by country for more than 10 years. Fortum has been awarded with Fair Tax Mark accreditation. We aim to create value for our shareholders and societies where we operate.