Brussels (8 November) - The Council, chaired by Slovak Finance Minister Peter Kažimír, agreed on the criteria and the process for the establishment of an EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in taxation matters.
"Today's agreement between all member states is an essential part of our joint EU strategy to combat global challenges such as tax base erosion and profit shifting. It proves that we are delivering on our drive to be a frontrunner in this field."
Screening of non-cooperative jurisdictions is due to be completed by September 2017, so that the Council can endorse the list by the end of 2017. It is intended to be a continuous and regular process.
The initiative is a response to a January 2016 package of Commission proposals to prevent corporate tax avoidance, as well as the April 2016 Panama Papers revelations.
"Today's agreement between all member states is an essential part of our joint EU strategy to combat global challenges such as tax base erosion and profit shifting. It proves that we are delivering on our drive to be a frontrunner in this field. This a first crucial step in the process that will take place throughout 2017. A dialogue will start with those countries that fail to comply with the criteria we have established, and only those jurisdictions refusing to cooperate and fulfil the criteria in due time will be placed on the so-called blacklist. Our primary goal is to incentivise, not to punish," said Peter Kažimír, Slovak minister for finance and president of the Council.
Corporate tax reform
The Council discussed a package of proposals aimed at reforming the manner in which companies are taxed in the EU.
The package includes new proposals for a common consolidated corporate tax base. The Commission proposes a single rulebook for calculating taxable company profits throughout the EU, with provisions to close off opportunities for corporate tax evasion. The package also includes a new system for resolving double taxation disputes, and measures to close down hybrid mismatches between member states' and third countries' tax systems.
Work on the proposals has started at technical level, with an initial emphasis on the proposal dealing with hybrid mismatches.
Tax evasion and money laundering
The Council agreed on a proposal granting access for tax authorities to information held by authorities responsible for the prevention of money laundering.
The directive will require member states to enable access to information on the beneficial ownership of companies. It will apply as from 1 January 2018.
The proposal is one of a number of measures set out by the Commission in July 2016, in the wake of the April 2016 Panama Papers revelations.
The Council will adopt the directive once the European Parliament has issued its opinion.