On 1 June 2021, representatives of the European Parliament and the Council under EU Portuguese Presidency negotiated a Draft Directive on public country-by-country reporting (‘Public CbCR’) for big multinational groups. They provisionally reached a compromise agreement.
Once this political agreement is endorsed, it requires European or non-European multinational groups or standalone undertakings to publicly disclose certain financial data. This includes the corporate income tax they pay
- in each EU Member State,
- in each of the countries that are listed on the EU’s blacklist, or
- in each of the countries that are listed for two consecutive years on the ‘EU’s grey list’.
The proposal for directive contains a de minimis rule for groups with only a small footprint in the EU. The groups or standalone undertakings in scope of the draft Directive have a total consolidated revenue of at least €750m during the last two consecutive years.
The public disclosures cover, i.a., income tax accrued, revenues, employees and more. It must follow a common EU template and be presented in a machine-readable electronic format. The Public CbCR Directive will provide for a complete and final list of information to report. The reporting must be done within 12 months from the date of the balance sheet of the financial year in question. EU Member States must transpose the Directive into domestic law eighteen months after its entry into force.
The Public CbCR Directive will contain a confidentiality clause. This clause sets out the conditions under which a multinational group or standalone undertaking may defer the disclosure of certain (sensitive) elements for a maximum of five years. It also stipulates who bears the actual responsibility with the reporting obligation.
The European Commission will review the application of the Directive four years after the transposition date.
The provisionally agreed text still needs to be endorsed in a final vote in the Council of the EU (through qualified majority) and in the European Parliament (by a simple majority of members). As the proposed directive is an accounting directive – and not a tax directive – there is no unanimity requirement in the EU Council..
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