What is Fiscalis?
The Fiscalis programme is an EU cooperation programme that enables national tax administrations to create and exchange information and expertise. It helps Member States to develop and run major trans-European IT tax systems, as well as establishing networks of officials across the EU. Following the conclusions of the European Council of 17-21 July 2020, and subject to the agreement with the European Parliament, the Fiscalis programme has a budget of €269 million for the period 2021-2027, up from €223.2 million in the period 2014-2020.
It focuses on improving the proper functioning of the internal market's taxation systems by helping participating countries, their tax authorities and their officials to work together in the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning. At the same time, Fiscalis helps to protect the financial interests of Member States and honest taxpayers, given the role it plays in fighting fraud related to Value Added Tax (VAT) – a percentage of which is an own resource for the EU budget. It allows the relevant authorities to implement EU law in the field of taxation by ensuring exchange of information, supporting administrative cooperation and helping to reduce the administrative burden of tax authorities and compliance costs for taxpayers when needed.
Why Fiscalis 2020?
Without intense cooperation and coordination between Member States, unfair tax competition and tax evasion would increase, while fraudsters would be able exploit the lack of cooperation between national authorities. Tax fraud and tax evasion cannot be tackled if Member States do not look beyond the borders of their administrative territories or liaise closely with their counterparts. Also, the set-up achieved under Fiscalis is more cost-effective than if each Member State were to put in place individual cooperation frameworks on a bilateral or multilateral basis.
Under the Fiscalis programme the Commission will develop and maintain interoperable and cost-effective IT solutions to support tax authorities in their efforts to fight tax evasion and tax avoidance. The programme will facilitate cooperation, the sharing of good practices, IT and human capacity-building to boost administrative efficiency and IT collaboration, joint risk management and audit. In turn, this will lead to improvements in the EU's competitiveness - boosting innovation and facilitating new economic models.
This work includes the creation of standardised forms for the exchange of information on request and spontaneous exchanges, an EU system which can check the validity of national Tax Identification Numbers, helping to identify taxpayers that are engaged in cross-border activity so that tax administrations and businesses can collect and exchange data automatically. Among the 25 IT systems currently funded by Fiscalis is the Commission's VAT Information Exchange System (VIES) where businesses and individuals can check if a business is registered for VAT purposes to trade cross-border within the EU.
Fiscalis supports Member States in their tax audit activities, by providing financial and organisational support for international audits and controls and the presence of tax officials in other Member States' tax administration premises. Thanks to the Fiscalis programme, €591 million in taxes was assessed for possible recovery in 2015. The programme has financed over 1000 joint actions since 2014.
Objectives of the programme
The new Fiscalis Programme will support cooperation between Member States' tax administrations and better contribute to the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and tax avoidance, by:
- Putting in place better and more connected IT systems, which each Member State would otherwise have to develop individually. This includes developing and maintaining interoperable and cost-effective IT solutions to support tax authorities in implementing EU legislation;
- Sharing good practices and training to boost efficiency: this includes helping prevent unnecessary administrative burdens for citizens and businesses (including SMEs) in cross-border transactions and significantly adding to the 423,000 tax professionals trained since 2014;
- Putting in place joint actions in risk management and audits – 1,000 of which have been organised between Member States since 2014;
- Fostering Union competitiveness, boosting innovation and facilitating the implementation of new economic models.