ACCA - The global body for professional accountants
Similarly, we agree with the Commission’s proposal to improve the identification of taxpayers, the step by step creation of a European tax identification number (TIN) and the launch of 'TIN on EUROPA'. Here again, implementation is likely to be complicated as each Member State currently relies on its own IT architecture, hardware and software. These systems may well be configured in such a way that they could not handle such a change without requiring expensive modernisation
—Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation, ACCA

The global accountancy body supports the move towards enhanced administrative cooperation between tax authorities and better interactions with tax havens as well as tackling aggressive tax planning, but warns against implementation issues

ACCA welcomes today the publication by the European Commission of its Action Plan aiming to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion. For the global accountancy body, the plan identifies specific and appropriate measures and ACCA shares the view that it is instrumental to start with ensuring the proper use of existing legislative instruments.

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at ACCA, says: 'Many of the ideas in the Action Plan are really common sense and should therefore be supported. However, their implementation will require member states to work much more closely with one another for their own national interest but also in a way that will improve the tax take across the EU.'

Chas Roy-Chowdhury explains: 'The Action Plan represents a big bold comprehensive initiative from the European Commission and we welcome it. Our only concern is that short and even medium-term implementation is likely to prove ambitious. For instance, while it makes perfect sense to have a rapid exchange of information between member states in order to combat direct and indirect tax fraud, all member states may not be able to implement this system at the same speed. However there is no doubt that this is something which can be remedied over time. 

'Similarly, we agree with the Commission’s proposal to improve the identification of taxpayers, the step-by-step creation of a European tax identification number (TIN) and the launch of 'TIN on EUROPA'. Here again, implementation is likely to  be complicated as each Member State currently relies on its own IT architecture, hardware and software. These systems may well be configured in such a way that they could not handle such a change without requiring expensive modernisation.' 

'We also commend the idea of a single VAT web portal, which will help member states and businesses to get their VAT right. In the same vein, we strongly support the VAT forum of businesses and member states, to which ACCA is happy to actively participate,' Chas Roy-Chowdhury adds.

In addition, ACCA supports the idea of a voluntary single VAT return and has presented its views accordingly in the framework of Fiscalis 2013, which is an EU cooperation programme enabling national tax administrations to create and exchange information and expertise. 

'We consider that best practices across member states should be shared and adopted and that joint audits between member states' tax authorities is the way forward. We are probably less keen on the burden of a standard audit file,' Chas Roy-Chowdhury underlines.

Given the organisation’s global outreach, ACCA strongly agrees that tax havens should not be conduits for tax evasion. 

'We need co-ordinated measures proposing both defensive instruments and incentives to fight against unfair practices, and countries which do not co-operate in combating fraud and tax evasion should be put on a list. However, we should not allow the focus on offshore jurisdictions to become an excuse for failed compliance policies by EU countries and the deficiencies of the global financial system,' Chas Roy Chowdhury concludes.

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For more information, please contact: 

Cecile Bonino 
cecile.bonino@accaglobal.com 
+32 (0) 2 286 11 37 

Notes to Editors 

  1. ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. 
  2. We support our 154,000 members and 432,000 students in 170 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of over 80 offices and centres and more than 8,400 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. 
  3. Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.