European Commission close to anti-tax avoidance package

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION is on the verge of agreeing a wide-reaching anti-tax avoidance package that it claims will put Europe “in a leading position in the fight against tax avoidance”.

Speaking at the ECOFIN press conference in Brussels last week, vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis confirmed that “after a lot of work”, all 28 member states have come to an agreement in principle on the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive. The directive was first published by the commission in January 2016.

“Most of the outstanding issues have been resolved in very fruitful discussions. Some of the elements still must be confirmed by Belgian and Czech governments,” explained Dombrovskis.

The European Commission, which has been recently criticised on its tax avoidance clampdown in the wake of the Panama Papers, hopes the directive will hopefully be adopted on Monday. The directive will look to shut down many of the channels most commonly used by aggressive tax planners to minimise their tax bills.

“The compromise which was fleshed out today goes a very long way to accommodate Member States’ concerns,” continued the vice-president.

“But for the commission it is crucial that there is a clear date by when common rules need to apply to everybody to fully implement the OECD BEPS standards. We have been emphasising many times that Europe wants to be in a leading position in the fight against tax avoidance and also in implementing global standards.”

The directive was heralded by political figures at the European Parliament last week, but MEPs are still pushing for stricter limits against corporate tax avoidance.

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