The European Commission unveiled proposals Tuesday aimed at streamlining corporate tax rules across EU member states and closing loopholes for tax avoidance, after reforms suggested back in 2011 failed to gain approval.
The European Union's executive has no say over how much tax member states charge firms, but has been waging a battle against corporate tax avoidance, which is thought to deprive the bloc of up to 70 billion euros (76 billion dollars) in revenues annually.
"Companies need simpler tax rules within the EU," said Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici. "At the same time, we need to drive forward our fight against tax avoidance."
The measures unveiled Tuesday would allow companies to file a single tax return for all their activities in the EU. The system would be mandatory for multinational companies operating in the bloc with global revenues exceeding 750 million euros.
The package of reforms, billed as the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB), also seeks to promote growth-friendly activities - by promoting investments and encouraging firms to turn to equity rather than debt as a source of financing, for example.
At the same time, the commission argues that the CCCTB would remove some of the mismatches in rules between member states that can be exploited by multinationals to lower their tax bill.
Moscovici urged finance ministers to look at the measures with a "fresh pair of eyes," after the 2011 proposals failed to win the unanimity required for tax-related issues among the EU's 28 member states. The bloc's lawmakers will also be consulted.