The Council reached an agreement (general approach) on new rules for withholding tax procedures (FASTER)

On 14 May 2024, the European and Financial Affairs Council met to discuss the proposal for a Council Directive on Faster and Safer Relief of Excess Withholding Taxes through a compromise text which presents substantial differences compared to the original text of the proposal published in June 2023. The Council reached an agreement (general approach) on the compromise text providing for new rules for withholding tax procedures.

FASTER aims at creating:

  • A common EU digital tax residence certificate; and
  • A standardised WHT relief procedure implying:
    • Standardised reporting obligations for financial intermediaries to provide national tax administrations with the necessary tools to check eligibility for the reduced rate and to detect potential abuse; and
    • A two fast-track procedure, assorted with new due diligence obligations, complementing the existing standard refund procedure to relieve excess WHT withheld by a Member State on dividend or interest income paid on publicly traded shares or bonds to non-resident investors.

Hereafter International & Corporate Tax Partner, Antoine Dupuis and Chief Knowledge Officer, Marie Bentley, describe the implications of FASTER.