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European Commission publishes measures to enhance transparency

European Commission publishes measures to enhance transparency

Personal Tax

The measures were published on 5 July 2016 and set out the next steps in the Commission's campaign to boost tax transparency to fight tax evasion and avoidance in the EU, taking into account the problems highlighted in the wake of the Panama papers.

The key proposals the European Commission are advocating are as follows:

  • Tax authorities should have access to national anti-money laundering information, particularly beneficial ownership of companies, trusts and funds, and due diligence information.
  • The Anti-Money Laundering Directive will be amended so that existing and new accounts will be subject to due diligence controls.
  • The Commission will examine how member states could automatically exchange their national information on beneficial owners of companies and trusts.
  • Promoting good tax governance worldwide and tackling uncooperative tax jurisdictions.
  • An assessment of the additional sectorial measures to increase the protection of whistleblowers.

The main concern raised by the Finance Ministers is that the transposition deadline being suggested (1 January 2017) is unrealistic. Specifically, the German Finance Minister suggested that this date should be extended to 26 June 2017. In response, the Commission stated that even though the proposed changes and deadline are ambitious, they are also proportionate and hence achievable by Member States.