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BAN UK tax breaks on patented tech, fumes German finance minister

Achtung! Blighty has patent tax breaks? Wer hätte das gedacht?

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German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has called for a ban on so-called "patent box" tax breaks offered by Blighty, the Netherlands and other EU member states.

Schäuble told reporters after a European economics meeting that the tax breaks - offered to companies on patented inventions - resulted in unfair competition for foreign investment.

The minister said he wanted his colleagues to review the practice of giving lower corporate tax rates to companies for profits related to intellectual property and innovations.

"We have to look at this practice and discuss it in Europe," he said, according to Reuters and others. "That's no European spirit. You could get the idea they are doing it just to attract companies."

Countries such as Belgium, France, Spain and Hungary all offer tax incentives for patents, a policy they say encourages innovation and investment in R&D. But some of the EU states have found that firms are cutting their taxes by more than they'd like.

Belgium, one of the first countries to introduce a patent box scheme, is reportedly considering putting a limit on the amount of benefit that companies can claim, after finding the scheme was a little too generous. ®

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