The legislation that is or has come in to place is not to reveal money hidden in offshore accounts.
The directive has five key legal aspects relating to:
- limiting interest (capping the amount of tax deductible interest a company can have),
- the rules around exit taxation (the taxes on companies when they leave a country),
- the rules around controlled foreign companies (to stop the diverting of profits to low-tax countries),
- general anti-abuse rules (to counter ‘aggressive tax planning’ that doesn’t necessarily break any specific rules), and;
- rules on hybrid mismatches (when companies exploit the differences between countries’ tax systems).
These policies are about tightening up “systemic issues” to do with tax law in EU countries, to make it harder for companies to practice what the EU calls “aggressive tax planning”.
In planning since 2015 three of the five provisions of the new tax avoidance directive are already in place, with EU countries (including the UK) having to adopt them by 31 December 2018.