Last August the Italian Senate approved the European delegation law, currently under examination in the Chamber, through which Directive 2016/2258/EU amending the previous 2011/16/EU, introduces access by tax authorities to information, procedures, documents and workings for anti-money laundering purposes in order to allow the application and operation of all forms of administrative cooperation between tax authorities of EU Member States provided for in this Directive.
Following the implementation of Directive 2014/107/EU, the global standard for automatic exchange of finacial account information in tax matters within the EU is already in force since January 1, 2016 (2017 for Austria). As such, it ensures that information on account holders of financial accounts is reported to the Member State where the account holder is resident (CRS).
In addition, in accordance with the 2011/16/EU provision, the Directive foresees that where the account holder is an intermediary structure, the financial institutions shall look through that entity and identify and report its beneficial owners.
That important element in the application of the IV Anti-Money Laundering Directive involves a step relying entirely on information obtained for the identification of the beneficial owners, based on Directive 2015/849/EU.
In this context, in order to ensure effective control of the implementation of due diligence procedures by the financial institutions, it was introduced tax authorities’ access to all information collected for the purpose of anti-money laundering. Without this access, those authorities would not be able to monitor, audit and confirm that the financial institutions apply properly Directive 2011/16/EU and identify correctly and report the beneficial owners of intermediary structures.
By the end of this year, the European Union will see the full realization of the new regulatory framework, which will provide strategic tools to fight international tax evasion. The deadline for transposition is set for December 31, 2017. Specific obligations will be imposed on the intermediaries of the Member States in order to allow tax administrations to access the information and data gathered. In particular, customer due diligence, beneficial ownership of corporations, companies and trusts, as well as information about anti-money laundering obligations will be transmitted.
To this end, it will be essential for tax administrations to examine and consider cases individually in order to avoid unlawful and multiple verifications caused by a non-perfect regulatory alignment between the various countries, considering that tax discipline identifying the taxpayer at national level does not always correspond to the identification of the beneficial owner.
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