Bulgarian Presidency negotiates rules to further prevent corporate tax avoidance


Vladislav Goranov, Bulgarian Minister for Finance. Photo: European Union

The Bulgarian Presidency of the Council today negotiated an agreement between EU member states on rules that will allow for greater transparency in tax planning schemes. Under the chairmanship of Vladislav Goranov, the Bulgarian Minister for Finance, the EU's economics and finance ministers adopted a number of measures that will prevent corporate tax avoidance and protect national budgets.

Commenting on today's agreement, Mr Goranov said:

"Enhancing transparency is key to our strategy to combat tax avoidance and tax evasion. If the authorities receive information about aggressive tax planning schemes before they are implemented, they will be able to close down loopholes before revenue is lost."

Under the new rules, intermediaries such as tax advisers, accountants, banks and lawyers will have to report to national authorities tax planning schemes that are considered potentially aggressive. Member states will then automatically exchange the information they receive through a centralised database. This will provide an early warning of new risks of tax avoidance and make it possible to counteract harmful arrangements.

At today's ECOFIN meeting in Brussels, ministers also agreed to update the EU's list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. They agreed to add three countries [the Bahamas, Saint Kitts and Nevis and the US Virgin Islands] to the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions. They also agreed to add another four countries [Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands and Dominica] to annex II of the December conclusions, also known as the 'grey list'.

At the same time, following on from Mr Goranov's commitment to greater transparency in this field, the Council is preparing a specific webpage on the EU list, where all relevant information will be published.

Finally, on Tuesday ministers agreed on the EU position for the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting, which will take place in Buenos Aires on 19 and 20 March. Mr Goranov will represent the EU at the meeting, in his role as president of the ECOFIN Council, together with representatives of the European Commission and the European Central Bank.

Following the ECOFIN meeting, Mr Goranov gave a press conference, in which Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis also took part.

More information about the outcome of today's meeting is available here.

Pictures and videos can be found here.

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