Malta has re-stated its commitment to countering aggressive tax planning, joining other EU states in unanimously agreeing to amend the EU’s tax information sharing law.
The remarks come as several smaller EU countries, including Malta, have come in for criticism for their position on tax information sharing. This led to the finance minister insisting in January that “Malta is among the most tax compliant countries.”
EU finance ministers agreed last week several amendments to the Directive on Administrative Cooperation. They will require intermediaries, such as tax advisers, accountants, and lawyers, that design and/or promote tax planning schemes to report those schemes that are considered potentially aggressive.
The amendments will also require EU member states to automatically exchange any information received through a centralized database. This should enable new tax avoidance risks to be detected sooner, and steps taken to block any potentially damaging arrangements.
Malta’s minister for finance, Edward Scicluna, told parliament that Malta takes exception to the “non-European way” Malta has been labeled as potentially non-cooperative in tax matters, noting that his sentiment has also been expressed by six other member states who have been labeled negatively in the press, which cited the European Tax Commissioner.
Scicluna asserted that Malta is fully compliant with EU rules and directives on taxation and with international tax standards. “The introduction of The Anti Tax Avoidance Directive I (ATAD I) and ATAD II, coupled with today’s unanimous agreement on the proposal for a directive to amend the Directive on Administrative Cooperation, is a further demonstration of our commitment to this cause,” the minister stated.