Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (229)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

229. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Finance his views on the recent European Council meeting discussions on tax evasion and avoidence measures in the European Union. [25451/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I welcome the recent European Council discussions on tax fraud, evasion, and aggressive tax planning that took place on the 22nd May. These discussions took place following on from a successful Ecofin meeting which I chaired on the 14th May, where council conclusions were agreed on the European Commission Action Plan to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and evasion, and associated Recommendations on aggressive tax planning and good governance in tax matters. Agreement on these conclusions was brokered by the Irish Presidency following discussions at official level in the Working Party on Tax Questions, and at senior official level in the High Level Working Party, before final agreement was adopted at Ecofin. During the Irish Presidency in the tax area I have prioritised files aimed at tackling tax fraud and evasion and aggressive tax planning and I am pleased to be able to inform the deputy that we have had some significant achievements in this area. In April EU Tax Commissioner Algirdas Semeta and I issued a joint letter to EU Finance Ministers (ECOFIN) urging action against tax fraud, evasion, and aggressive tax planning, and outlined seven key areas where work could be taken forward. I am pleased to inform the deputy that we have made progress in all seven areas. In addition to the above mentioned May Ecofin council conclusions, at the recent June Ecofin we reached agreement on the VAT anti-fraud package. We have also made progress in widening the scope of the EU Savings Directive towards the new global standard of automatic exchange of information, and agreement was also reached on the related Negotiating Mandate for the Commission to align EU savings tax agreements with selected European third countries. Furthermore we reached agreement on the adoption of the Fiscalis 2020 programme and work has begun to revise the Directive on Administrative Cooperation to further widen the scope of automatic exchange of information within the EU. Finally the subgroup of the Code of Conduct on Business Taxation presented a report on intra-EU hybrid entity mismatches which demonstrated the scope for coordinated action in the EU against aggressive tax planning.