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EU paves way for crackdown on tax loopholes

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The European Commission has announced plans to further clamp down on offshore tax avoidance and shell companies following the Panama Papers scandal.

The plans will require tax authorities to identify the real owners of offshore funds as well as create new legislation to crack down on lawyers and tax advisers helping clients hide money in offshore islands.

Key proposals include increasing cross-border transparency on beneficial ownership, improving oversight of tax advisers’ activities and strengthening protection for whistleblowers.

European commissioner for tax policy Pierre Moscovici says:“The recent leaks exposed loopholes that still allow tax evaders to hide funds offshore.

“These loopholes must be closed and our measures to stamp out tax abuse must be intensified.We have already come a long way and now is the time to go further. The EU’s tax transparency campaign continues.”

Moscovici said the Commission will publish “robust EU rules to hold tax advisers to account” before his mandate ends in 2019, with a public consultation to start “as soon as possible”.

The commission will also provide an update on its work to promote tax good governance worldwide and in dealing with non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.

EU commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality Věra Jourová says: “Today, we are putting forward stricter transparency rules to cut terrorist financing and step up our fight against money laundering and tax avoidance.

“The update of the fourth anti-money laundering directive will prevent any loopholes in Europe for terrorists, criminals or anyone trying to play with taxation rules to finance their activities.”

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