Trust Bloomberg Tax's Premier International Tax offering for the news and guidance to navigate the complex tax treaty networks and business regulations.
By Joe Kirwin
The European Union’s tightened company ownership transparency rules crossed the final legislative threshold May 14 when EU member states backed the measures.
The rules, among the world’s toughest, are meant to expose shell companies used for tax evasion and money laundering. Every EU member state would be required to create a national registry listing the beneficial owners of companies and trusts. The registries can be accessed by persons of “legitimate interest” including tax advocacy groups and journalists.
The registries will list individuals with a share of 25 percent or more of a company. The rules make up the fifth revision of the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD). EU member states will have two years to transpose the legislation into national law.
The changes were proposed in July of 2016 in the wake of the Panama Papers data leak, which revealed aggressive tax planning among wealthy individuals and companies. The approval of the changes finalizes an agreement worked out with the European Parliament over the course of 2017.
In order to close the deal, European Parliament lawmakers eventually abandoned their demands that the national ownership registries be unconditionally open to the public, that they include all trusts, and that the beneficial ownership threshold be lower than 25 percent.
The revised legislation also contains new rules for accountants and tax advisory services as they will have to report discrepancies between the information in the beneficial owner registries and the information they find through their own investigations.
Accountants and tax advisers have raised concerns about the cost of accessing the member registries. They have also questioned the accuracy of some EU member registries, which could raise liability issues, as well as the potential cost of accessing them.
The new EU company transparency law has been hailed by some advocacy groups, including Transparency International EU, as a breakthrough that should become a global standard.
But the group has also warned that it will be crucial for EU member states to ensure that administrative hurdles and delays don’t hinder access to the national registries.
To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Kirwin in Brussels at email@example.com
To contact the editor on this story: Penny Sukhraj at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2018 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)