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Tue, 14 Nov 2017 13:15 - Updated Tue, 14 Nov 2017 13:14

EU tries to fast-track rules for tax advisers after Paradise Papers

BRUSSELS - The European Union needs a quick agreement on proposed rules for lawyers, bankers and other advisers that help devise ways to aggressively cut tax bills, the European tax commissioner said on Tuesday.

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The appeal for more transparency on tax matters comes after new revelations, known as the Paradise Papers, of widespread use by companies and wealthy individuals of off-shore jurisdictions.

In a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Pierre Moscovici called on member states and EU legislators to agree “in the next six months” on proposals made by the EU’s executive commission in June that would force tax advisers to report tax- planning schemes devised for their clients.

Moscovici also urged member states to agree by the end of the year on an EU blacklist of tax havens, to reduce the appeal of off-shore jurisdictions that charge little or no corporate tax.

Aggressive tax planning and tax avoidance are not illegal in themselves, but they are controversial and in some cases could hide illicit activities.

The proposal on stricter rules on tax advisers would impose sanctions on lawyers, accountants, banks and other consultants that do not disclose tax arrangements that could help avoidance.

So far, the commission’s proposal has made little progress. On tax matters, all 28 EU states have to agree on reforms, a provision that has allowed smaller, low-tax countries to block several overhauls,REUTERS.

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