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Fight Against Tax Evasion Picks Up Steam in EU as Austria, Luxembourg Sign On

Roberta Holland | March 26, 2014

After a five-year delay, the European Union directive on automated sharing of tax information is now poised to move forward throughout the bloc as Austria and Luxembourg withdrew their objections to the law last week.

Designed to crack down on tax evasion and bank secrecy, the EU Savings Tax Directive calls for the automatic exchange between national tax authorities of information gathered from banks and financial institutions. It enables Member States to collect income data on non-residents and share it with tax authorities where the individual or company is based.

While 26 Member States already agreed to the 2008 directive, Austria and Luxembourg blocked the law and were allowed to apply a 35 percent withholding tax instead of participating in the automatic information exchange, according to the European Commission. Those two countries had balked at the directive because of concerns that non-EU...

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