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Towards more simplicity, certainty and stability in EU corporate tax regimes

, By: Malte Lohan, Head of Corporate Affairs Europe
Towards more simplicity, certainty and stability in EU corporate tax regimes

Discussion with the EP’s TAXE Committee on 16 November 2015

We took part in a public meeting of the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Tax Rulings (TAXE), alongside a number of other multinational companies, to discuss planned changes to European and international corporate tax rules.

We are a strong supporter of reforming the current corporate tax system in a way that would make it simpler with lower administrative burdens, provide more certainty for both companies and tax authorities, and result in the necessary stability to encourage long-term investments.

Our participation in this debate is an example of our commitment to a continued dialogue with the European Parliament, other European institutions and our stakeholders more generally to achieve better policy outcomes.  

Below is a video of our opening statement as well as the full text of the statement. A full video recording of the meeting, including the Q&A with the companies, will be made available on the EP’s TAXE Committee’s website.  

 

Monsieur le Président

Très chers membres du parlement européen

Mesdames et Messieurs

 

Merci pour votre invitation de joindre cette réunion importante aujourd’hui pour discuter de la CCCTB et de BEPS. Permettez-moi de m’exprimer en anglais.

My name is Malte Lohan, I am responsible for global corporate affairs at AB In Bev. This includes AB InBev’s position on important European and international policy issues, including tax policy.

AB InBev welcomes the proposals made in the TAXE Special Committee report. We believe TAXE has a key role to play in supporting a better corporate tax regime in the EU. We hope that the discussions today will contribute to that goal.

First, let me give you a bit of background about AB InBev: AB InBev is the leading global beer company, with its HQ in Leuven just outside of Brussels. Brands like Stella Artois and Leffe are rooted in a Belgian brewing tradition and heritage that goes back 700 years. Our global HQ are still on the historic site where Stella Artois was first brewed. We recently announced another 55 million EUR investment in our Leuven brewery to strengthen our production and allow us to bring Stella Artois to even more places in the world.

Let me give you a few headlines on our business. With operations in 25 countries, AB InBev employs more than 155,000 people. Our 2014 revenues from markets across the world were in excess of 43 billion EUR. We pay taxes in the countries where we operate. In 2014, we paid approximately 14.5 billion EUR in taxes worldwide, including approximately 2.2 billion EUR in income taxes.

You will find much more information on our corporate website as well as on our EU policy blog, www.ab-inbev.eu

Now, onto tax policy issues – first CCCTB, then BEPS: We support the TAXE call for CCCTB. We believe a corporate tax regime must be based on three key principles:

1.    Simplicity. We need a simplified corporate tax system, which reduces administrative burdens. These remain very significant in Europe

2.    Legal certainty, for companies and tax authorities alike

3.    Stability, to help companies plan for the long term

Our belief is that the CCCTB could implement these principles in Europe. In doing so, it would encourage companies to invest more in Europe, creating jobs and driving the growth and competitiveness of the EU economy.

AB InBev particularly welcomes the call by the TAXE Special Committee for an efficient dispute resolution mechanism to deal with double taxation. Currently, this takes up to 8 years and many disputes remain unresolved. The overhaul of corporate tax policy in this respect must be a priority.

Of course, as a company operating across the world, we need a simple, clear and stable tax regime not just in the EU but globally. BEPS can play an important role here. Given that the BEPS actions allow for flexibility, a consistent implementation not just in the EU but at a global level is essential. Ensuring a level playing field with the rest of the world is also a question of the continued competitiveness of the EU economy.      

In summary, we believe that the European Parliament can help change corporate income tax policy for the better, in a way that helps to achieve a simpler corporate tax system with lower administrative burdens, more certainty for both companies and tax authorities, and the necessary stability to encourage long-term investments. 

We hope that our dialogue today can help contribute to that goal and I look forward to elaborating on these points in the exchange of views.

Malte Lohan

Malte Lohan

Head of Corporate Affairs Europe

I am convinced a genuine dialogue between policy makers, civil society and businesses leads to better policy outcomes. That dialogue is not always straightforward. My role at AB InBev is to provide a touch point to build trust and advance shared objectives: bringing the views and expertise of the world’s leading brewer to the policy table, while helping the company listen to society and stakeholders so that we can make better business decisions.