Report: EU ‘targets lawyers, accountants in tax-avoidance clampdown’

The European Union is planning to “crack down on accountants and lawyers running tax avoidance schemes”,  in the wake of last year’s Panama Papers scandal “that showed how the rich and powerful hide their money”, London’s Guardian newspaper is reporting. 

Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured), the European commission president, plans to introduce new legislation within the next month that, the publication said, would aim”to shed[a] light on [those] experts who help clients exploit tax laws and shift money to offshore tax havens”.

The proposed legislation would have to be approved by EU members and is not expected to come into force until January 2019, the Guardian noted, which would mean it would take force just weeks before the UK is currently due to leave the EU.

Juncker announced his plan in a speech to MEPs yesterday, the Guardian reported.

It quoted him as saying that lawyers, accountants and other financial experts who devise complex tax avoidance schemes were a “real problem”.

Juncker is seen by many observers as a recent convert to the cause of cracking down on tax avoidance, as he was criticised for, as the Guardian noted, “allowing tax avoidance schemes on a massive scale” when he was prime minister of Luxembourg, for 18 years, before taking up his EU post in 2014.

As reported, the EU has been working to draw up a blacklist of tax havens  since last year, and is aiming to publish its final list at the end of 2017.

To read the Guardian‘s report in full on its website, click here.

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