One Currency, One Tax? Don't Bet On It

Business wants reform, but it is up against entrenched foes

The European Union has long boasted about its single market, and its single currency will be something to crow about. But Europe holds no bragging rights when it comes to its chaotic tax system, which business says is a killer. On value-added tax alone, the 15 EU nations still have more than 200 different rates. Levies on cars range from 213% in Denmark to just 15% in Germany. So a Mercedes E200 that sells for about $33,500 in Germany costs $90,500 in Denmark.

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