EU proposes direct access to taxpayer databases
Allowing cross-border access to all taxpayer databases will help member states fight tax fraud more effectively.Brussels – The European Commission, keen to reduce cross-border tax fraud, on Tuesday proposed giving all member states "direct access" to information on national taxpayer databases.
"In the current economic situation it is more important than ever to fight tax fraud efficiently and a fully functioning administrative cooperation between tax administrations is key in that respect," the EU's Taxation Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs said in a statement.
"My objective is to ensure that tax authorities have all technical and legal means to take action against European Union wide VAT (value-added tax) fraud and to ensure that each tax administration is prepared to protect other member states' tax revenue as effectively as their own," Kovacs said.
Rapid access to taxpayer databases can be very useful and the new proposal "grants tax authorities of other member states a direct access to a defined set of information contained in these databases," he stressed.
A key element of the scheme is the creation of 'Eurofisc' aimed at helping European nations fight fraud together.
This entity should allow "a very fast exchange of targeted information" in order to "stop fraud and catch fraudsters," said Kovacs.
The move, which requires backing from member states and the European parliament if it is to come into effect, is aimed at combating so-called "carousel" tax fraud.
This occurs when someone acquires goods within the European Community on which no VAT has been paid and then sells them elsewhere within the community with VAT included but disappears without paying the tax to any exchequer.
The commission gave no estimate for the amount of VAT fraud throughout the bloc but studies show overall tax fraud amounted to between EUR 200 billion (CHF 303 billion) and EUR 250 billion per year.
It has long sought tools to tackle the problem and has already put forward other proposals, including the harmonisation of measures to ensure the swift detection and de-registration of "fake taxable persons".
AFP / Expatica