Tax professionals in Europe’s biggest businesses are heavily in favour of European Commission proposals for a harmonised, pan-European corporate tax system, according to a KPMG study.

Finance directors, tax directors and tax managers from more than 400 companies, including some of the largest companies from all 27 EU countries and Switzerland, were asked their view of the commission’s plans for a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB).

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The plans propose that the profits of businesses operating in more than one EU member state should be calculated according to a single EU-wide formula, rather than the 27 different formulae used currently. Profits would then be reallocated to the countries in which the businesses are active, to be taxed at those countries’ tax rates.

The idea was supported by 78% of respondents across Europe. Tax professionals in the Czech Republic, Denmark and Spain were 100% in favour, along with 96% in Italy, 90% in Greece, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Sweden, 84% in Germany and 80% in Austria, Finland, Hungary and Portugal.

Among the large economies, the UK was the most sceptical, with 62% of respondents in favour and 32% against. Only Ireland and Slovakia registered majorities against the proposal, with 50% opposed in each country.

The commission has emphasised that it is not proposing a single European corporate tax rate. But 69% of respondents said that, in addition to the common corporate tax base, they would like to see a single rate for the whole of Europe.

Only the UK, Cyprus, Ireland, Poland and Switzerland recorded majorities against a single rate. Denmark was evenly split for and against, but in all other countries there was strong support for the idea.

Businesses were attracted by the prospect of more straightforward tax compliance and better business planning.

Although 22% said they thought the new system could increase the amount of tax their business pays, this was balanced by 21% who said they thought their tax bills would fall, and 42% who said they thought it would make little difference.

Sue Bonney, head of tax at KPMG in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: “We were surprised by the strength of opinion in favour of the CCCTB proposals.”