Council Directive 2014/48/EU of 24 March 2014 amending Directive 2003/48/EC on taxation of savings income in the form of interest payments

Published date15 April 2014
Subject MatterTaxation
Official Gazette PublicationOfficial Journal of the European Union, L 111, 15 April 2014
15.4.2014 EN Official Journal of the European Union L 111/50


of 24 March 2014

amending Directive 2003/48/EC on taxation of savings income in the form of interest payments


Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 115 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament (1),

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee (2),


(1) Council Directive 2003/48/EC (3) has been applied in the Member States since 1 July 2005 and proved effective during its first three years of application, within the limits set by its scope. However, it appears from the first Commission report of 15 September 2008 on its application that it does not fully measure up to the ambitions expressed in the conclusions adopted unanimously by the Council in its meeting of 26 and 27 November 2000. In particular, certain financial instruments which are equivalent to interest-bearing securities and certain indirect means of holding interest-bearing securities are not covered.
(2) In order better to achieve the aim of Directive 2003/48/EC, it is necessary first to improve the quality of information used to establish the identity and residence of beneficial owners. In this regard, the paying agent should use both date and place of birth and, if any, the tax identification numbers or equivalent allocated by Member States. Directive 2003/48/EC does not impose an obligation on Member States to introduce tax identification numbers. In this regard, information with respect to joint accounts and other cases of shared beneficial ownership should also be improved.
(3) Directive 2003/48/EC applies only to interest payments made for the immediate benefit of individuals resident in the Union. These individuals may thus circumvent Directive 2003/48/EC by using an interposed entity or legal arrangement, especially one established in a jurisdiction where taxation of income paid to this entity or arrangement is not ensured. Having regard also to the anti-money laundering measures laid down in Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (4), it is therefore appropriate to require paying agents to apply a ‘look-through approach’ to payments made to certain entities or legal arrangements established or having their place of effective management in certain countries or territories where Directive 2003/48/EC or measures to the same or equivalent effect do not apply. Those paying agents should use the information already available to them about the actual beneficial owner(s) of such entities or legal arrangements to ensure that Directive 2003/48/EC is applied when the beneficial owner so identified is an individual resident in a Member State other than the one where the paying agent is established. In order to reduce the administrative burden on paying agents, an indicative list of entities and legal arrangements in the third countries and jurisdictions concerned by this measure should be drawn up.
(4) Circumvention of Directive 2003/48/EC through artificial channelling of an interest payment via an economic operator established outside the Union should also be avoided. It is therefore necessary to specify the responsibilities of economic operators when they are aware that an interest payment made to an operator established outside the territorial scope of Directive 2003/48/EC is made for the benefit of an individual, known by them to be a resident of another Member State and who can be considered to be their customer. In such circumstances, those economic operators should be considered to be acting as paying agents. This would also in particular help to prevent a possible misuse of the international network of financial institutions, namely, branches, subsidiaries, associated or holding companies, to circumvent Directive 2003/48/EC.
(5) Experience has shown that greater clarity is necessary regarding the obligation to act as a paying agent upon receipt of an interest payment. In particular, the intermediate structures which are subject to that obligation should be identified clearly. Entities and legal arrangements which are not subject to effective taxation should apply the provisions of Directive 2003/48/EC upon receipt by them of any interest payment from any upstream economic operator. An indicative list of such entities and legal arrangements in each Member State will facilitate the implementation of the new provisions.
(6) It appears from the first report on the application of Directive 2003/48/EC that it may be circumvented by the use of financial instruments which, having regard to the level of risk, flexibility and agreed return, are equivalent to debt claims. It is therefore necessary to ensure that it covers not only interest but other substantially equivalent income.
(7) Similarly, life insurance contracts containing a guarantee of income return or whose performance is at more than 40 % linked to income from debt claims or equivalent income covered by Directive 2003/48/EC should be included in the scope of that Directive.
(8) As regards investment funds established in the Union, Directive 2003/48/EC at present covers only income obtained through undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS) authorised in accordance with Directive 2009/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (5) which, inter alia, repealed and replaced Council Directive 85/611/EEC (6). Equivalent income from non-UCITS falls within the scope of Directive 2003/48/EC only when non-UCITS are entities without legal personality and therefore act as paying agents on receipt of interest payments. In order to ensure the application of the same rules to all investment funds or schemes independently of their legal form, the reference in Directive 2003/48/EC to Directive 85/611/EEC should be replaced by a reference to their registration in accordance with the law of a Member State or their fund rules or instruments of incorporation being governed by the law of one of the Member States. Furthermore, equal treatment should be ensured taking into account the Treaty on the European Economic Area.
(9) As regards investment funds not established in a Member State of the European Union or of the European Economic Area, it is necessary to make clear that the Directive encompasses interest and equivalent income from all those funds, irrespective of their legal form and of how they are placed with investors.
(10) The definition of interest payment should be clarified to ensure that not only direct investments in debt claims but also indirect investments are taken into account in the calculation of the percentage of the assets invested in such instruments. Furthermore, in order to facilitate the application by paying agents of Directive 2003/48/EC to income arising from undertakings for collective investment established in other countries, it should be made clear that the calculation of the composition of the assets for the treatment of certain income of such undertakings is governed by the rules laid down in the Member State of the European Union or of the European Economic Area in which they are established.
(11) Both the ‘certificate’ procedure allowing beneficial owners resident for tax purposes in one Member State to avoid the imposition of a withholding tax on interest payments received in a Member State listed in Article 10(1) of Directive 2003/48/EC and the alternative procedure of voluntary disclosure to the State of residence of the beneficial owner have merits. Nevertheless, the procedure of voluntary disclosure is less burdensome for the beneficial owner and it is therefore appropriate to give the choice of procedure to the beneficial owners.
(12) Member States should provide relevant statistics on the application of Directive 2003/48/EC in order to improve the quality of information held by the Commission for the preparation of the report, presented to the Council every three years, on the application of that Directive.
(13) In accordance with point 34 of the Interinstitutional Agreement on better law-making (7), Member States are encouraged to draw up, for themselves and in the interest of the European Union, their own tables illustrating, as far as possible, the correlation between this Directive and the transposition measures, and to make them public.
(14) In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of Directive 2003/48/EC, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council (8).
(15) Since the objectives of this Directive, namely ensuring effective taxation of savings income in the form of cross-border interest payments which are generally included in all Member States in the taxable income of resident individuals, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States but can rather, by reason of the scale of the action, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve those objectives.
(16) Directive 2003/48/EC should be amended,


Article 1

Directive 2003/48/EC is amended as follows:

(1) in Article 1, paragraph 2 is replaced by the following: ‘2. Member

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