TAXATION: COMMISSION TO TURN A BLIND EYE TO REDUCED VAT RATES UNTIL JANUARY 24.

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The EU executive board gave the go-ahead to Taxation and Customs Union Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs on December 7 to pursue negotiations with the Council in an effort to secure agreement on reform of reduced rates of VAT. The Commissioners above all confirmed that if no agreement is reached on December 15 at the summit meeting of EU heads of state and government, the Commission will not launch proceedings against the nine member states continuing to levy reduced rates of VAT on labour-intensive services beyond January 1, 2006 (the current legislative provisions expire on December 31, 2005).

However, contrary to comments by French Finance Minister Thierry Breton...

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