I wish to inform the House that the Government have opted in to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an action programme for customs and taxation in the European Union for the period 2014-2020 (known as FISCUS).
This proposal establishes a tax and customs co-operation programme to support the effective functioning of the internal market and operation of customs procedures, and to improve the functioning of taxation systems within the EU by increasing co-operation between member states. The programme aims to contribute to the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, by strengthening the functioning of the single market and EU customs union. It also has the objective of driving technical progress and innovation in national tax administrations with the aim of developing e-tax administrations and contributing to the establishment of a digital single market.
The UK has benefited from participation in predecessor programmes, in particular, through involvement in multilateral controls which can assist with the detection of tax fraud and through using customs 2013 activities to reduce administrative burdens for compliant businesses. The programmes also fund the maintenance and development of EU communication and information exchange systems. This is an area where spend on research and development can represent good EU added-value by providing economies of scale in the development of cross-EU networks.