21.12.2016. EU Council approves access to beneficial ownership information


The European Council has adopted a directive that will grant tax authorities access to information held by authorities responsible for the prevention of money laundering.

The Council adopted the directive, which will apply from January 1, 2018, on December 6. Its action follows a parliamentary vote on November 22.

The Council said: “the directive will require member states to provide access to information on the beneficial ownership of companies. It will enable tax authorities to access that information in monitoring the proper application of rules on the automatic exchange of tax information.”

The new rules will enable and oblige authorities with anti-money laundering responsibilities in any EU member country to automatically share information such as bank account balances, interest income, and dividends with other EU member states.

Currently, where a financial account holder is an intermediary structure, banks are required to look through that entity and report its beneficial ownership. Applying that provision relies on information held by authorities responsible for the preventing of money laundering.