Global IRW Newsbrief: European Commission seeks to expand automatic information exchange between EU Member States

European Union (EU) Tax Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta on June 13, 2013 presented a Proposal for a Council Directive intended to combat tax evasion by expanding the scope of the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) between EU Member States on “dividends, capital gains, all other financial income and account balances” and is planned to take effect from January 2015 related to the taxable period from 1 January 2014. Such an enhanced exchange of information would result in the EU having the most comprehensive tax information exchange system in the world and is intended to set the global standard for other nations to adopt in the future.

According to European Commission estimates, EU countries lose approximately one trillion Euros per year to tax fraud and tax evasion. "Particularly in these difficult economic times, honest taxpayers should not suffer additional tax increases to compensate for revenue losses incurred due to tax fraudsters and evaders," the European Commission stated in its draft proposal.

In 2010, the United States (U.S.) enacted the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) setting a new bar in the fight against tax evasion under which the U.S. authorities will receive account information related to U.S. taxpayers with accounts with, or interests in, foreign financial institutions. The provisions of FATCA will be phased in through 2017 with the exchange of information beginning in 2015, meaning that the EU AEOI proposal, if agreed to in its current form, would take effect concurrently with FATCA.