Economic and Financial Affairs Council

Ministers reached agreement on transparency requirements for tax intermediaries.

The proposal is the latest of a number of measures designed to prevent corporate tax avoidance.

It will require intermediaries such as tax advisors, accountants and lawyers to report tax planning schemes that could be aggressive. And the member states will be required to share that information automatically, enabling measures to be taken to block harmful arrangements.

“Enhancing transparency is key to our strategy to combat tax avoidance and tax evasion”, said Vladislav Goranov, minister for finance of Bulgaria, which currently holds the Council presidency. “If the authorities receive information about aggressive tax planning schemes before they are implemented, they will be able to close down loopholes before revenue is lost.”

The Council adjusted the EU’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in the light of:

  • commitments made by listed jurisdictions;
  • an assessment of jurisdictions for which no listing decision had yet been taken.

It removed Bahrain, the Marshall Islands and Saint Lucia from the list and added the Bahamas, Saint Kitts and Nevis and the US Virgin Islands.

Moves have also been made to improve transparency in the listing process. Correspondence with third country jurisdictions is currently being made public.

 “I am glad to see more jurisdictions that we listed in December committing themselves to reforming their tax policies in a manner that will remedy our concerns”, Mr Goranov said. “We call on all jurisdictions on the list to do likewise, and on all those that have already made commitments to implement them in a timely manner. Our aim is to achieve optimal tax transparency worldwide.”