The transition to a climate-neutral society is an urgent challenge where companies of all economic sectors, and society in general, play a vital role. The issues of climate protection and sustainability are being addressed in an increasingly global way, with the European Green Deal as a clear example.
At WTS Global we believe that an international and multidisciplinary approach is essential to offer the best services to our clients. For this reason, our team consists of experts from different countries, with a special focus in Europe. In addition, our advice in the field of climate protection and energy covers a wide range of issues, for which we have expert teams who are capable of accompanying the client throughout the whole process: from compliance to high-end tax and legal consulting. Alongside tax advisors, lawyers, economists and engineers also work in our team. Hence, we combine tax advice with comprehensive and holistic legal advice on regulatory, contractual and litigation matters. Together we have significant experience spanning more than twenty-five years in the field of excise taxes, especially “Green Taxes”, as well as in energy and climate protection law.
The aim of this WTS Global Mindset Hub is to bring together the expertise of our tax professionals around the world in the field of climate protection, electricity and energy taxation. Throughout our activities, our members share their knowledge and experiences, as well as combine their efforts to provide the best services to our international clients. Some of the main topics relevant to our group include electricity and energy regulation, digitalization and technical innovations such as e-mobility. We advise our clients according to their preferences on a comprehensive or project basis, and we also respond to individual inquiries. This includes strategic advice and advice on digital tax solutions in the key areas.
In July 2020, the EU Member States agreed to introduce a levy on non-recycled plastic packaging waste as a new source of own resources to finance the EU budget as of 1 January 2021. This plastic levy is paid by the member states to the European Union and compensates partially for the COVID-19-related expenses.
The levy amounts to 0.80 euros per kilogramme of non-recycled plastic packaging waste. The decision does not lead to a new tax for producers, traders or consumers of plastics. However, in order to refinance the new plastic levy, the introduction of new sector-related levies for single-use plastics is already being discussed in various member states.
Some states have already drafted concrete legislative proposals for the introduction of a new plastic tax. Plans are particularly advanced in Italy, while Spain has recently published a new law which will introduce a plastic packaging tax as of 2023, and Great Britain's plastic packaging tax is already in place since April 1st, 2022. Other member states have announced that they do not want to introduce a new tax at all. In any case, in most countries there are only very vague plans, but an EU-wide harmonisation of plans is currently neither planned nor in sight.
If you want to learn more about this topic read our publication Plastic taxation in Europe.
Under the guiding principle of the European Green Deal, the EU wants to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. This requires comprehensive investments in measures to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The aim is an industrial transformation towards decarbonisation. Electrification, energy efficiency, electromobility and the use of renewable energy sources and hydrogen are topics of the future.
Just like technology, energy taxation is in a process of renewal. The revision of the Energy Tax Directive currently under discussion is intended to promote a sustainable structural change towards a green industry in Europe. Carbon leakage regulations on energy and electricity taxation should prevent production capacities from being relocated to countries with lower energy taxation and ensure a level playing field in Europe. The EU Commission's current plans also include a continuous increase in minimum tax rates and a change in the basis of assessment from volume to energy content. The requirements of the Energy Efficiency Directive and the discussed expansion of the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) to include further sectors as well as a CO2 border adjustment mechanism for imported goods also give rise to discussion. Furthermore, we are closely monitoring new developments such as the introduction of meat taxes.
Global supply chains and international group restructuring also require cross-border excise advice. For this reason, we cooperate with local experts in almost every country in the world. This cooperation is based on strict quality criteria, long-standing partnerships and personal contacts. Our international partner firms are characterised by comprehensive excise know-how, a strong client orientation, practical relevance, implementation strength, team spirit and fast response times. Our advice covers all stages of the process chain, from the production of mineral oils and the generation of electricity, to the transport and trade of excisable goods (including energy products, alcohol), their use in industrial processes and the combustion of waste as secondary or substitute fuels.
Our consulting also includes process optimisation with the integration of our clients' IT landscape to increase efficiencies. The digitalisation of functions and processes in the finance sector is a megatrend that has been affecting all larger companies for many years. It can be assumed that the digitalisation of the tax function will ultimately lead to automated end-to-end processes that support tax compliance and tax advice as well as enable tax reporting "at the push of a button". In the context of excise duty, the integration of the company's mass data ("Big Data") as well as automated validation processes will also lead to profound changes. With the help of digitalisation, the transparency of business processes can be increased and tax risks avoided.
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