Member States should focus on improving their administrative capacity to collect taxes. National authorities should also make it easier for the willing to comply, for example, through voluntary disclosure programmes. EU instruments such as the one-stop-shop (see IP/12/17) and a possible Tax Web-Portal should also assist better compliance.
The Commission document stresses that Member States have full sovereignty over the collection of their taxes, the functioning and consistency of their tax laws and tax administrations, tax collection and the fight against tax fraud.
Action to tackle tax evasion at European level has proven to be effective. Thanks to the EU Savings Directive, for example, Member States exchange information on non-resident tax-payers to the value of €20 billion. The challenge now is to deepen such cooperation and strengthen common tools. In this respect, agreement by Member States on the revised Savings Directive is essential. In addition, a number of new ideas are presented. These include a possible European cross-border tax identification number, a quick reaction mechanism for VAT fraud and minimum EU rules and sanctions for fraud and evasion.
For the fight against tax evasion to be truly effective, international partners must apply good governance standards that are equivalent to the EU's. The mandates that the Commission has requested to negotiate stronger savings agreements with key neighbouring countries are crucial in that respect. Before the end of 2012, the Commission will also set out a "stick and carrots" approach to dealing with tax havens, and measures to combat aggressive tax planning.