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In response to the publication of the Panama Papers, the European Commission has proposed new measures to improve transparency and better facilitate the exchange of information between tax authorities.
Tax Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said: "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. The Commission is determined to inject more openness and more trust into taxation. We have already come a long way and now is the time to go further. The EU's tax transparency campaign continues."
He explained that there are three strands to the Commission's plan to crack down on aggressive tax avoidance. They are: providing tax authorities with "crucial information on the individuals behind any company or trust"; creating "more transparency around the activities of tax advisors, and more scrutiny of those that promote aggressive tax planning schemes"; and taking "a tougher stance against countries that allow offshore funds to be used for illicit purposes."
The Commission's priorities are set out in a Communication issued on July 5. It proposed:
Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, said: "Tax avoidance can cost the public purse many millions of euros each year. Understandably, people and businesses want tax to be fairer and more effective. To do so, we are working together at European level to make the system more transparent, making it difficult for potential tax evaders to move profits elsewhere. The Panama Papers scandal helped to focus minds and speed up this work."
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