Cooperation between national taxation authorities: Council puts the spotlight on crypto-assets and the wealthiest individuals
The Council has reached agreement on its position (general approach) regarding amendments to the directive on administrative cooperation in the area of taxation. The amendments mainly concern the reporting and automatic exchange of information on revenues from transactions in crypto-assets and information on advance tax rulings for the wealthiest (high-net-worth) individuals. The aim is to strengthen the existing legislative framework by enlarging the scope for registration and reporting obligations and overall administrative cooperation of tax administrations.
Today we are strengthening the rules for administrative cooperation and closing loopholes that have previously been used to avoid taxation of income. This reduces the risk of crypto-assets being used as a safe haven for tax avoidance and tax fraud. The agreement is yet another example of the EU as a leader in the implementation of global standards.
Elisabeth Svantesson, Minister for Finance of Sweden
Additional categories of assets and income, such as crypto-assets, will now be covered. There will be a mandatory automatic exchange between tax authorities of information which will have to be provided by reporting crypto-asset service providers. So far, the decentralised nature of crypto-assets has made it difficult for member states’ tax administrations to ensure tax compliance. The inherent cross-border nature of crypto-assets requires strong international administrative cooperation to ensure effective tax collection.
This directive covers a broad scope of crypto-assets, building on the definitions that are set out in the regulation on markets in crypto-assets (MiCA) which the Council adopts today. Also those crypto-assets that have been issued in a decentralised manner, as well as stablecoins, including e-money tokens and certain non-fungible tokens (NFTs), are included in the scope.
On 27 November 2020, the Council approved conclusions “On fair and effective taxation in times of recovery, on tax challenges linked to digitalisation and on tax good governance in the EU and beyond.” The Council recognised that the rapid development and increasing worldwide use of alternative means of payment and investment – such as crypto-assets and e-money – may undermine the progress made on tax transparency in recent years and pose substantial risks of tax fraud, tax evasion and tax avoidance; and that it is important to discuss at technical level on how to update the rules on administrative cooperation within the EU and on a global level in order to address these potential risks.
On 7 December 2021, the Council indicated in its report to the European Council on tax issues that it expects the European Commission to table in 2022 a legislative proposal on further revision of the Directive 2011/16/EU on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation (DAC), concerning exchange of information on crypto-assets and tax rulings for wealthy individuals.
On 8 December 2022 the Commission presented a proposal for a Council directive amending directive 2011/16/EU on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation (DAC8). The key objectives of this legislative proposal are the following:
- to extend the scope of automatic exchange of information under DAC to information that will have to be reported by crypto-asset service providers on transactions (transfer or exchange) of crypto-assets and e-money. Expanding administrative cooperation to this new area is aimed at helping member states to address the challenges posed by the digitalisation of the economy. The provisions of DAC8 on due diligence procedures, reporting requirements and other rules applicable to reporting crypto-asset service providers will reflect the Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework (“CARF”) and a set of amendments to the Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”), which were prepared by the OECD under the mandate of the G20. The G20 endorsed the CARF and the amendments to CRS, both of which it considers to be integral additions to the global standards for automatic exchange of information
- to extend the scope of the current rules on exchange of tax-relevant information by including provisions on exchange of advance cross-border rulings concerning high-net-worth individuals, as well as provisions on automatic exchange of information on non-custodial dividends and similar revenues, in order to reduce the risks of tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax fraud, as the current provisions of DAC do not cover this type of income
- to amend a number of other existing provisions of DAC. In particular, the proposal seeks to improve the rules on reporting and communication of the Tax Identification Number (TIN), in order to facilitate the task of tax authorities of identifying the relevant taxpayers and correctly assessing the related taxes, and to amend DAC provisions on penalties that are to be applied by member states to persons for the failure of compliance with national legislation on reporting requirements adopted pursuant to DAC.
Experts of the member states have since analysed the proposal. The Council Presidency has prioritised work on this proposal with the objective of reaching an agreement by the Ecofin Council at its May meeting.
This directive is not subject to the ordinary legislative procedure but the consultation procedure. This means that the European Parliament may present its views but has no legislative power to make changes to the proposal. The final outcome of this legislative process is decided by member states in the Council, by unanimity.