Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Misleading information in the media on EU tax harmonization (in Polish)

I have just read an article in the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza on "Takie same stawki podatków w Unii? Zbyteczne" (The same tax rates in the EU? Not needed), which provides a sweet example of media misinformation.

First, the title of the article is not congruent with its content: one of the surveyed economists (in fact, Dr Ozog is not an economist, but a tax lawyer) is in favor of harmonizing tax bases within the EU and introducing a range of tax rates for CIT, ie a minimum and a maximum tax rate allowed. This is as close to tax harmonization as it can possibly get, short of having the same CIT rate for everyone.

Second, the way the article is written makes it really hard to understand Ozog's views: it first says that she is against one CIT rate for everyone, but then at the end adds that "it could be useful to think about introducing ranges", which goes against the main message coming from the text. Readers are left believing that there is something wrong with harmonizing taxes.

Third and finally, the article only asks for opinion two selected economists, without trying to talk to someone, who has strong arguments in favor of tax harmonization. Biased selection biases the results.

On the whole, the title of the article should have read something like "Tax Harmonization in Europe? A qualified yes for harmonizing bases and minimum tax rates", which would have fit the content much better. Otherwise, it is a great article!:-)

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