What is the EU policy on tax havens and tax justice?
The EU has an established policy on promoting good governance in tax matters which is based on three principles: transparency of tax systems, exchange of tax information and fair tax competition. Although so-called "tax havens" are de facto covered, the policy is not targeted at those, but aims at improving tax good governance in general.
The Commission is actively pursuing the implementation of the actions defined in its 2009 and 2010 communications on the “Promotion of good governance in tax matters” and on “Tax and development”, which form the basis of its policy in this field. In practice this means:
– in the field of transparency and exchange of information, ensuring that tax administrations have access, can process and effectively exchange between themselves relevant (tax) information on taxpayers;
– in the field of harmful tax competition, removing those tax regimes designed to unfairly attract taxpayers from other countries, while maintaining the capacity to use taxation as a fair competition tool in the Single Market.
This strategy has a clear international dimension. The Commission pushes for the inclusion of commitments to good governance in the tax area during the negotiations on EU agreements with third countries. Moreover, it builds on joined efforts undertaken in other international fora such as the G20, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United Nations.
As regards taxation of savings income, and beyond existing agreements with third countries, the Commission is actively promoting its standards – including automatic exchange of information – both in its discussions with European countries that are not members of the EU and with other important financial centres such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Macao.
The matter of tax justice is not within the Commission's remit. The Commission acknowledges the prime responsibility of countries to improve their revenue systems and policies according to their own economic and political circumstances and choices.