Effective Cross-Border Pension Information in the Face of Multi-Level Legal Systems A cross-disciplinary research into the cross-border taxation of pensions

Supervisors: Prof. dr. Anouk Bollen-Vandenboorn, Prof. dr. Lisa Brüggen

Keywords: Pension, Tax, Cross-border, Cross-disciplinary

"Effective Cross-Border Pension Information in the Face of Multi-Level Legal Systems A cross-disciplinary research into the cross-border taxation of pensions"

A growing number of mobile individuals, who take advantage of their European freedoms of movement, face a lack of comprehensive pension information. This obstacle can hinder those who need pension information the most in making well-informed retirement decisions, which are crucial given the ongoing importance of an adequate pension across Europe. This book investigates the fitness of regulatory frameworks at national (Netherlands and Germany), European, and international levels governing the taxation of cross-border statutory, occupational, and personal pensions for effective pension information provision. Where these frameworks fall short, the research explores necessary legal and non-legal interventions to ensure and enhance information effectiveness. The research introduces an innovative multidisciplinary evaluation framework, drawing from behavioural economics, economic psychology, and cognitive psychology concepts. It applies a ‘distanced approach’, translating findings into the legal domain to enrich legal doctrine while adopting a ‘law in action’ perspective. This interdisciplinary work also employs an experimental design (randomized controlled trial) to address the common question of 'what will I get?'

The evaluation reveals areas for improvement and recommendations. Differences in regulations, lack of harmonization or coordination of legislation and complex interactive processes between different legislative instruments and different levels of international and/or European law and national law are the most common obstacles to providing effective information. These problems of complexity, pluralism and fragmentation of legislative instruments are partly rooted in the fact that national pension systems are primarily based on national policy considerations. One recommendation - for example - is that the European Commission - in its positive integration approach - should move away from its narrow approach of leaving the development of a coherent (European) approach to national pension taxation systems and complementary tax policy instruments to the case-by-case interpretation by the CJEU. It should update the 2001 Communication and urge Member States to move away from the isolated approach and look across borders in taxing cross-border pensions. The convergence and consistency between these national pension tax systems and the European single market calls for more positive integration at the European level. In fine, other legal and non-legal interventions are put forward in order to ensure, and potentially foster, the effectiveness of cross-border pension information.

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