New rules to prevent tax evasion, money laundering
National tax authorities across the European Union (EU) will have direct access to information on the beneficial owners of companies, trusts and other entities after new rules came into force on January 1.
The aim of the rules, welcomed by the European Commission, is to prevent tax evasion and money laundering by obliging member states to give tax authorities access to data collected under anti-money laundering legislation.
Pierre Moscovici, commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said providing information about individuals behind companies and trusts was "essential for them to be able to identify and clamp down on tax evaders".
He added: "To do this, tax authorities will now have access to anti-money laundering information."
A statement by the EU Commission claimed the new rules would give a "major boost" to tax authorities in the fight against the types of structures highlighted in the Paradise Papers.
It added that the rules would enable tax authorities to react quickly and efficiently to cases of tax evasion and avoidance.