Brussels expands drive to fight tax evasion

In addition, Brussels is also expanding its fight against customs fraud.

The two new schemes – Fiscalis 2007 and Customs 2007 – will be jointly financed by the EU and member countries with Brussels putting up Euro 56m (£34m), and Euro 133m (£81m), respectively over the next five years.

Tax fraud, particularly in the area of VAT and excise duties, has soared in the EU single market in recent years because goods transported from one member country to another are free of tax when they cross borders.

Fiscalis 2007 will seek to counter this through improved electronic systems for information exchanges, co-operation in investigations between national authorities, training seminars for customs and tax officials and exchanges of officials between national administrations. At the same time it will extend surveillance to income and corporation tax.

Similar methods will be used in Customs 2007, which will target high-risk traffic through pilot programmes at the same time as developing a paperless electronic customs system to reduce compliance costs.

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