Automatic exchange of bank data to stop EU tax evasion

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In the wake of several tax evasion scandals, including the “Panama Papers” revelations, Parliament has backed the Council’s position, and given the go ahead, by 590 votes to 32, with 64 abstentions, for tax authorities across Europe to automatically share information about bank account holders.

The new rules will enable and oblige tax authorities with anti-money laundering responsibilities in any EU country to automatically share information such as bank account balances, interest income and dividends, with their counterparts in other member states.

Emmanuel Maurel (S&D, FR), the rapporteur on Parliament’s position, said “huge efforts made in transparency are the only way to fight against [tax evasion] this scourge that affects public finances.”

In its resolution, Parliament says that links between money laundering, the funding of terrorism, organised crime and tax evasion, highlight the need for close cooperation and coordination among EU countries.

The update of the directive was tabled by the Commission in July 2016 and was endorsed by member states in September.

Parliament’s vote now allows it to enter into force immediately and member states must implement it before the end of 2017.