National governments told to try harder on fraud

The European Commission has called on national governments to boost their
cooperation against tax fraudsters, as ‘there remains a huge gap between the
amounts for which assistance is requested and amounts actually recovered through
mutual assistance’.

In a Communication (policy paper), Brussels said it would make specific
proposals to improve coordination in 2007, strengthening and streamlining
cooperation rules, and ‘facilitating their practical use’.

The Commission claimed that while member states helped each other recover
Euro 13.8 million in lost or evaded tax in 2004 this was a miniscule 1.82% of
sums for which assistance was requested. In 2003, it was just 1.13%, (Euro 5
million recouped).

Brussels called for better communication between tax authorities, with those
requesting help supplying ‘useful current or updated information’ and those
responding keeping applicant tax authorities ‘adequately informed’. Governments
should devote enough resources to respond ‘expeditiously as recovery chances
decrease according to the length of time’ after a claim.

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