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Conferences and summits

Public hearing on simpler withholding tax procedures for Europe

The Code of conduct on withholding tax (WHT) is one of the main deliverables of the capital markets union (CMU) action plan in the area of taxation. Its implementation will address the longstanding problems of long delays and high costs faced by investors seeking to claim withholding tax refunds. In 2016, the cost to investors of WHT refund procedures was estimated at EUR 8.4 billion per year 1.

The European Commission, together with tax experts from EU countries, has prepared the code to encourage Member States to establish quicker, standardised refund procedures and adopt WHT relief-at-source systems. The code was developed around the 9 best practices on WHT procedures identified by the Commission and an expert group in the Commission Report on barriers to free movement of capital.

The public hearing will offer the chance to present the code to stakeholders and have a lively exchange of views. The half-day event will include two panel discussions.

  • The first panel will deal with the current state of play: (1) why the WHT procedures are costly and lengthy and (2) to what extent implementing the code would improve the situation.
  • The second panel will discuss issues such as (1) how to make sure that the code actually leads to change and (2) what are the actions and commitments needed to implement it.

1 In January 2016, the total costs of WHT refund processes was estimated at EUR 8.4 bn per year, including 6.03 bn in foregone tax relief (i.e. investors not claiming their tax refunds due to prohibitive compliance costs), 1.21 bn in costs related to the procedures and 1.16 bn in opportunity costs (due to the impossibility to use the money not yet refunded for other purposes)


  • financial services | free movement of capital
  • -
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Live streaming available

Practical information

Albert Borschette Congress Center, Room 0A
Albert Borschette Congress Center, Room 0A, Rue Froissart 36, 1040 Brussels, Belgium