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Unternehmensbesteuerung in der Europäischen Union: aktuelle Entwicklungen und Implikationen für die deutsche Steuerpolitik


  • Margit Schratzenstaller


Tax competition between member states tends to result in an erosion as well as a convergence of enterprise taxation in the EU. Besides statutory tax rates, several other characteristics of national enterprise tax systems are gradually aligning: for example regarding the integration of corporate and shareholder taxation. Another common trend is the systematic reduction of the tax burden on profits and capital income vis-à-vis labour income. At the same time enterprise taxes are significantly lower in the new member states compared to the old ones. Practically all EU enterprise tax systems are characterised by non-neutrality of taxation with regard to the legal form of firms (incorporated firms are taxed more favourably than non-incorporated firms) and to the capital structure (debt-financing enjoys tax advantages compared to equity financing). By decreasing statutory tax rates, the envisaged German enterprise tax reform will dampen incentives for profit shifting to lowtax countries. The existing potentials to broaden the tax base won't be fully realised, however. A further erosion of enterprise taxation can be prevented only by greater tax co-ordination within the EU. In der EU findet im Bereich der Unternehmensbesteuerung ein Steuerwettlauf zwischen den Mitgliedsländern statt, der für eine tendenzielle Erosion sowie für eine gewisse Konvergenz der Unternehmensbesteuerung sorgt. Neben den nominellen Steuersätzen gleichen sich auch andere Charakteristika der nationalen Unternehmensteuersysteme an: beispielsweise bezüglich der Integration von Körperschafts- und Anteilseignerbesteuerung. Ein übergreifender Trend ist auch die systematische Entlastung von Unternehmens- bzw. Kapitaleinkommen gegenüber Arbeitseinkommen. Gleichzeitig werden Unternehmen in den neuen Mitgliedsländern deutlich geringer besteuert als in den alten EU-Staaten. Praktisch alle EU-Unternehmensteuersysteme privilegieren steuerlich die Gewinne der Kapitalgesellschaften gegenüber jenen der Personenunternehmen (fehlende Rechtsformneutralität) und die Fremdfinanzierung gegenüber der Eigenfinanzierung (fehlende Finanzierungsneutralität). Die vorgesehene deutsche Unternehmensteuerreform verringert durch die Senkung der Steuersätze die Anreize für die Verschiebung von Gewinnen in niedriger besteuernde Länder. Die bestehenden Potenziale zur Verbreiterung der steuerlichen Bemessungsgrundlage werden allerdings nur unzureichend genutzt. Eine weitere Erosion der Unternehmensbesteuerung kann nur durch eine verstärkte Koordination auf EU-Ebene vermieden werden.

Suggested Citation

  • Margit Schratzenstaller, 2007. "Unternehmensbesteuerung in der Europäischen Union: aktuelle Entwicklungen und Implikationen für die deutsche Steuerpolitik," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 76(2), pages 21-38.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwvjh:76-2-3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael P. Devereux & Peter Birch Sørensen, 2006. "The Corporate Income Tax: international trends and options for fundamental reform," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 264, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    2. Ricardo Varsano & Kevin Kim & Michael Keen, 2006. "The "Flat Tax(es)"; Principles and Evidence," IMF Working Papers 06/218, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Michael P. Devereux & Rachel Griffith & Alexander Klemm, 2002. "Corporate income tax reforms and international tax competition," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 449-495, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bernd Berghuber & Margit Schratzenstaller, 2007. "Draft Federal Budget 2007-08: Matching Consolidation With New Spending Priorities," Austrian Economic Quarterly, WIFO, vol. 12(3), pages 118-134, August.
    2. Christian Baretti & Doina Radulescu & Michael Stimmelmayr, 2008. "Die Unternehmensteuerreform 2008: Deutschlands Antwort auf die Globalisierung - oder doch ein Stückwerk?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 61(02), pages 30-38, January.
    3. Doina Maria Rădulescu & Michael Stimmelmayr, 2008. "Die Unternehmensteuerreform 2008: Eine Reformalternative für Deutschland?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9(1), pages 19-36, February.
    4. Christian Baretti & Doina Radulescu & Michael Stimmelmayr, 2008. "The Corporate Tax Reform of 2008: Germany’s Answer to Globalization – or Just Patchwork?," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 6(3), pages 50-59, October.

    More about this item


    European Union; personal income taxation; business taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods


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