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EU listing of tax havens

21-10-2019

Broadly speaking, 'tax havens' provide taxpayers, both legal and natural persons, with opportunities for tax evasion or avoidance, while their secrecy and opacity also serves to disguise the origins of the proceeds of illegal and criminal activities. One might ask why establishing a list of tax havens or high-risk countries is useful. Drawing up such lists began with action to end harmful tax practices arising from the discrepancy between the global reach of financial flows and the geographically ...

Broadly speaking, 'tax havens' provide taxpayers, both legal and natural persons, with opportunities for tax evasion or avoidance, while their secrecy and opacity also serves to disguise the origins of the proceeds of illegal and criminal activities. One might ask why establishing a list of tax havens or high-risk countries is useful. Drawing up such lists began with action to end harmful tax practices arising from the discrepancy between the global reach of financial flows and the geographically limited scope of jurisdictions that match or exist inside national borders. However we refer to tax havens, they all have one thing in common: they allow individuals or organisations to escape from taxation. Distinctive characteristics of tax havens include low or zero taxation, fictitious residences (with no bearing on reality) and tax secrecy. The latter two are key methods for hiding ultimate beneficial owners. In the EU, the process of adopting a common list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions was initiated as part of efforts to further good tax governance, and its external dimension. On 5 December 2017, the Council adopted a first common list resulting from the assessment of third countries against distinctive criteria. Pursuing the assessment process, the Council has updated the list on the basis of commitments received, while also reviewing countries that had not yet been assessed. This briefing updates an earlier one, from May 2018 – itself an updated and extended version of a briefing from December 2017: ‘Understanding the rationale for compiling “tax haven” lists', PE 614.633 – to take account of the changes in the lists since that date.

Public country-by-country reporting by multinational enterprises

26-04-2019

Tax transparency has gained particular importance as a tool in the fight against tax avoidance and tax evasion, particularly in the field of corporate income tax and aggressive tax planning. Cooperation between tax authorities aims at allowing them to obtain information covering the global business of multinational enterprises (MNEs), and progress has already been made in this area. A further step in tax transparency would be to broaden it by providing publicly available information relating to tax ...

Tax transparency has gained particular importance as a tool in the fight against tax avoidance and tax evasion, particularly in the field of corporate income tax and aggressive tax planning. Cooperation between tax authorities aims at allowing them to obtain information covering the global business of multinational enterprises (MNEs), and progress has already been made in this area. A further step in tax transparency would be to broaden it by providing publicly available information relating to tax paid at the place where profits are actually made. Public country-by-country reporting (CBCR) is the publication of a defined set of facts and figures by large MNEs, thereby providing the public with a global picture of the taxes MNEs pay on their corporate income. The proposal is being considered by the European Parliament (EP) and the Council. In the EP, the amendments put forward by the ECON and JURI committees were voted on 4 July 2017. In the absence of a Council position enabling negotiations on the proposal, the Parliament adopted its position at first reading in plenary on 27 March 2019. Third edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

TAX3 Special Committee report

20-03-2019

The European Parliament's Special Committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (TAX3) was set up in March 2018 to build on and complement the work carried out in the EP since 2014. Its report, submitted for debate during the European Parliament's March II plenary session, takes stock of the continued topicality of these issues and of the progress made, as well as the remaining work ahead to fight financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance. It also paves the way for further monitoring ...

The European Parliament's Special Committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (TAX3) was set up in March 2018 to build on and complement the work carried out in the EP since 2014. Its report, submitted for debate during the European Parliament's March II plenary session, takes stock of the continued topicality of these issues and of the progress made, as well as the remaining work ahead to fight financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance. It also paves the way for further monitoring and follow-up actions.

Stronger administrative cooperation in the VAT field

15-01-2019

Value added tax (VAT) is a very efficient consumption tax and an important source of revenue for both national and European budgets. However, the rules governing common EU VAT system are 25 years old. A substantial review was initiated from 2016 onwards in order to update it and make it less vulnerable to fraud. The reform of the VAT framework towards a definitive VAT system for intra-Community business-to-business (B2B) transactions was planned in several consecutive steps. The Commission proposal ...

Value added tax (VAT) is a very efficient consumption tax and an important source of revenue for both national and European budgets. However, the rules governing common EU VAT system are 25 years old. A substantial review was initiated from 2016 onwards in order to update it and make it less vulnerable to fraud. The reform of the VAT framework towards a definitive VAT system for intra-Community business-to-business (B2B) transactions was planned in several consecutive steps. The Commission proposal to amend Regulation 904/2010 (Regulation on VAT administrative cooperation) was initially put forward on October 2017, as part of the ‘definitive VAT system package' and was itself amended on 30 November 2017. The resulting Regulation 2018/1541 was adopted on 2 October 2018, and applies in full as of 1 January 2020. It introduces the concept of the 'certified taxable person' and measures aimed at enhancing cooperation between Member States, improving cooperation between tax authorities and law enforcement bodies and addressing cross-border refund issues. Second edition of a briefing originally drafted by Ana Claudia Alfieri. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - December 2018

10-12-2018

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The supervisory approach to anti-money laundering: an analysis of the Joint Working Group’s reflection paper

14-11-2018

On August 31 2018, a Joint Working Group consisting of representatives of the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the European Supervisory Agencies published a document entitled ‘Reflection paper on possible elements of a Roadmap for seamless cooperation between Anti Money Laundering and Prudential Supervisors in the European Union’. The reflection paper straightforwardly calls for additional resources to be made available to the European Banking Authority to counter money laundering ...

On August 31 2018, a Joint Working Group consisting of representatives of the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the European Supervisory Agencies published a document entitled ‘Reflection paper on possible elements of a Roadmap for seamless cooperation between Anti Money Laundering and Prudential Supervisors in the European Union’. The reflection paper straightforwardly calls for additional resources to be made available to the European Banking Authority to counter money laundering. Suggestions for better cooperation and information sharing among anti-money laundering and prudential supervisors, however, risk being ineffective, as long as the underlying incentives to engage in international regulatory competition towards low enforcement of anti-money laundering standards are not addressed. To eliminate the potential for regulatory competition, anti-money laundering supervision needs to be raised to a European level.

Awtur estern

H.Huizinga

Money laundering and tax evasion risks in free ports

17-10-2018

Freeports are conducive to secrecy. In their preferential treatment, they resemble offshore financial centres, offering both high security and discretion and allowing transactions to be made without attracting attention of regulators and direct tax authorities. This study argues that the legal anti-money laundering and tax evasion framework in place in the EU (and elsewhere) is only partially effective in combatting money laundering and tax evasion.

Freeports are conducive to secrecy. In their preferential treatment, they resemble offshore financial centres, offering both high security and discretion and allowing transactions to be made without attracting attention of regulators and direct tax authorities. This study argues that the legal anti-money laundering and tax evasion framework in place in the EU (and elsewhere) is only partially effective in combatting money laundering and tax evasion.

An overview of shell companies in the European Union

17-10-2018

In April 2018, the European Parliament's Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3) requested a study on shell companies in the EU. In response to this request, the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit (EVAL) and the European Added Value Unit (EAVA) of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) prepared this study. The study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon of shell companies in the European Union. In particular, it approaches the issue through ...

In April 2018, the European Parliament's Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3) requested a study on shell companies in the EU. In response to this request, the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit (EVAL) and the European Added Value Unit (EAVA) of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) prepared this study. The study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon of shell companies in the European Union. In particular, it approaches the issue through a set of ‘proxy’ indicators at a member state level. It proceeds by presenting main risks associated with the shell companies. Finally, if presents policies aiming at mitigating these identified risks.

Revision of the Fourth Anti-Money-Laundering Directive

23-07-2018

Directive (EU) 2015/849, which forms part of the EU regulatory framework to combat financial crime, has shown gaps in the light of recent terrorist attacks and various tax leaks. In this context, the European Commission proposed to amend the directive, along with Directive 2009/101/EC, to broaden their scope, lower thresholds benefiting from exemptions and provide for the creation of automated centralised mechanisms (e.g. central electronic data retrieval systems). The European Parliament and Council ...

Directive (EU) 2015/849, which forms part of the EU regulatory framework to combat financial crime, has shown gaps in the light of recent terrorist attacks and various tax leaks. In this context, the European Commission proposed to amend the directive, along with Directive 2009/101/EC, to broaden their scope, lower thresholds benefiting from exemptions and provide for the creation of automated centralised mechanisms (e.g. central electronic data retrieval systems). The European Parliament and Council each put forward substantial modifications to the Commission proposal, including not amending the aforementioned Directive 2009/101/EC. Others include: the obligation for Member States to provide data to the Commission on trusts and legal arrangements; specific professional secrecy obligations for staff working, or having worked for, competent authorities supervising credit and financial institutions; cooperation between competent authorities; or the obligation for Member States to provide Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) with access to information – including through registries or central electronic data retrieval systems – which allows the identification of any natural or legal person owning real estate. Parliament voted on the agreement reached in trilogue on 19 April 2018 and Council adopted the act on 14 May 2018. The final act was published in the Official Journal on 19 June 2018. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Virtual currencies in the Eurosystem: challenges ahead

16-07-2018

Speculation on Bitcoin, the evolution of money in the digital age, and the underlying blockchain technology are attracting growing interest. In the context of the Eurosystem, this briefing paper analyses the legal nature of privately issued virtual currencies (VCs), the implications of VCs for central bank’s monetary policy and monopoly of note issue, and the risks for the financial system at large. The paper also considers some of the proposals concerning central bank issued virtual currencies. ...

Speculation on Bitcoin, the evolution of money in the digital age, and the underlying blockchain technology are attracting growing interest. In the context of the Eurosystem, this briefing paper analyses the legal nature of privately issued virtual currencies (VCs), the implications of VCs for central bank’s monetary policy and monopoly of note issue, and the risks for the financial system at large. The paper also considers some of the proposals concerning central bank issued virtual currencies. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.

Awtur estern

Rosa María LASTRA, Jason Grant ALLEN

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