This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website
Tax policy in the European Union (EU) has two components: direct taxation, which remains the sole responsibility of Member States, and indirect taxation, which affects free movement of goods and the freedom to provide services in the single market.
With regard to direct taxation, the EU has however established some harmonised standards for company and personal taxation, and member countries have taken joint measures to prevent tax avoidance and double taxation.
On indirect taxation, the EU coordinates and harmonises law on value-added tax (VAT) and excise duties. It ensures that competition on the internal market is not distorted by variations in indirect taxation rates and systems giving businesses in one country an unfair advantage over others.