Is better cooperation between tax authorities in the EC a good idea or not?
In theory, greater cooperation should be a good idea. My only reservation is over how it will work in practice.
Two proposals have been adopted by the EC with the aim of improving assistance between the tax authorities of Member States. In addition to providing clearer and common rules on procedures, forms, etc it will grant tax officials equal powers of inspection in administration enquiries carried out in another State.
Another element of the proposals is aimed at tackling the question of bank secrecy. A Member State will not be able to refuse to supply information concerning a taxpayer solely because this information is held by a bank or other financial institution.
With a second HM Revenue & Customs amnesty on offshore accounts soon to be announced, these proposals certainly add to their arsenal of weapons for tackling tax avoidance.
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Date: 15th April, 2009
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