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Parliamentary questions
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26 May 2021
E-001085/2021(ASW)
Answer given by Mr Gentiloni
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-001085/2021

The competence to carry out investigations of tax related financial operations of taxpayers lies with Member States’ national tax authorities.

It follows that there is no legal ground for the Commission to open investigations on tax avoidance linked to entities in jurisdictions on the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes (‘EU list’)(1).

Such entities are therefore subject to defensive measures, including tax audits, by Member States. In fact, starting from 2021, Member States have committed to ensure that they apply dissuasive tax measures to such entities.

The Commission notes that in 2020 Cayman Islands reformed their legislative framework to meet the requirements set by the Member States to comply with the EU listing criteria. In October 2020, Cayman Islands was removed from the list after Member States assessed that they had properly delivered on their commitments.

The Commission presented in July 2020 a Package for fair and simple taxation envisaging also initiatives to reinforce the fight against tax avoidance. In the communication on Tax Good Governance in the EU and beyond(2), the Commission refers to the prospect for revisiting the EU listing criteria, in particular with the aim to ensure effectiveness.

It is also worth pointing out that the EU list is only one of several instruments to fight tax avoidance. For example, the anti-tax avoidance directive(3) and the directive on administrative cooperation(4) are other important tools in this respect.

In parallel to the reform of the EU list criteria, the Commission is exploring other initiatives to strengthen further the EU anti-tax avoidance shield.

(1)Council of the European Union, Outcome of proceedings, Council conclusions (25 May 2016) Brussels, 9452/16 FISC 85 Ecofin 502.
(2)Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on Tax Good Governance in the EU and beyond (COM/2020/313 final)
(3)Council Directive (EU) 2016/1164 of 12 July 2016 laying down rules against tax avoidance practices that directly affect the functioning of the internal market, as amended.
(4)Council Directive 2011/16/EU of 15 February 2011 on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation and repealing Directive 77/799/EEC, as amended.
Last updated: 26 May 2021Legal notice - Privacy policy