Volume 27 (2018) / Issue 4
Tackling tax avoidance and evasion is among the political priorities in the EU, with a view to creating a deeper and fairer single market. In this context, the European Commission (EC) has presented in recent years a number of initiatives in order to promote a fairer tax system. Enhancing transparency is one of the key pillars in the EC’s strategy to combat tax avoidance and evasion. In particular the exchange of information between tax administrations is crucial in order to provide them with the necessary information to exercise their duties efficiently. Recent leaks, including the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers, have highlighted how certain intermediaries appear to have actively helped their clients to make use of aggressive tax planning schemes in order to reduce the tax burden and to conceal money offshore. Whilst some complex transactions and corporate structures may have entirely legitimate purposes, it is also clear that some activities, including offshore structures, may not be legitimate and in some cases, may even be illegal. The proposed legislative framework complements the series of legislative acts that were passed at the level of the EU over the previous years in implementation of some of the conclusions in the context of the BEPS project of the OECD/G20 and the work of the Global Forum in the field of transparency. The main aim remains linked to curbing tax evasion and avoidance through capturing aggressive tax planning schemes. The initiative generally envisages that potentially aggressive cross-border tax planning schemes be disclosed to the authorities.
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