The European Commission has welcomed new rules which will help to tackle tax evasion and money laundering.
The new laws entered into force on 1 January, and will allow national tax authorities direct access to data collected under anti-money laundering legislation. Authorities will now be given access to information on the beneficial owners of companies, trusts and other entities, as well as customer due diligence records. It is hoped that this access will give governments a better insight into the financial operation of these organisations, and boost their attempts to fight money laundering and tax evasion.
Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said that the new laws would be vital for clamping down on tax avoidance and evasion: “We want to give tax authorities crucial information on the individuals behind any company or trust. This is essential for them to be able to identify and clamp down on tax evaders. To do this, tax authorities will now have access to anti-money laundering information.”
The measures – which form part of the commission’s Directive on Administrative Cooperation – aim to address some of the practices and financial structures revealed in the ‘Paradise Papers’ leak last year, which exposed widespread tax evasion by some high-profile figures and multinationals, as well as the economic conditions which facilitate this.