The Fundamental Right to Fair and Equitable Treatment in the Cross-Border Recovery of Taxes within the EU: A Need for a Common Minimum Standard

This article examines the application of the EU fundamental rights protection standard in the context of cross-border recovery of taxes within the European Union. It argues that, when the Tax Recovery Directive is applicable, the standard of protection is adequate due to the principle of conforming interpretation requiring that secondary law is interpreted in line with primary law. However, we also contend that any fundamental rights violation at the level of the initial procedure for establishing the tax claim in the requesting Member State cannot be remedied whenever that procedure is in an area outside the scope of EU law (most of the direct tax measures). At the same time, the outcomes of such a procedure are subject to mutual recognition in other Member States. Therefore, and in order to strengthen the principle of mutual trust within the Union, the article proposes introducing a piece of secondary legislation that spells out a minimum standard of protection of taxpayers’ rights.