Taxation and Customs Union

EU tax transparency tools prove effective in the fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance

EU tax transparency rules on the automatic exchange of information between Member States are delivering added-value when it comes to countries’ ability to crack down on tax avoidance, according to an evaluation published on 16 September 2019 by the Commission.

The report provides a first snapshot of the commonly agreed legislation underpinning the exchange of tax information on financial accounts and on the tax rulings that Member States provide multinational companies. For example, in 2017 Member States exchanged information on almost 18,000 tax rulings given to multinationals. The evaluation shows that Member States should now be receiving the information they need to fight tax fraud, evasion, and avoidance, and that the new rules have helped to deter taxpayers from hiding income or assets.

The Commission continues to encourage all EU countries to make full use of their access to the wealth of useful tax information being made available through the new channels. The report published on 16 September 2019 assesses Council Directive 2011/16/EU on administrative cooperation in the field of direct taxation (Directive on Administrative Cooperation), almost seven years after its entry into application on 1 January 2013. The report analyses the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and the benefit of administrative cooperation for the EU Member States. The report itself and more information on the current rules are available. While too recent to examine in this study, even more tax data has now started to be exchanged between Member States, such as on the corporate tax revenues paid by big companies in each country. From next year, Member States will also start sharing intelligence on the tax planning advice being provided by intermediaries in each country.