DAC6 – delayed but be alert!

24 June 2020
Author: Helen McGhee

EU Directive 2018/822 of 25 May 2018 (mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation in relation to reportable cross-border arrangements) amends for the sixth time Directive 2011/16/EU on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation (“DAC 6”) and requires the disclosure of information relating to certain cross-border arrangements (“CBA”).

The main objective of DAC 6 is to strengthen tax transparency and prevent what are considered to be harmful tax practices through the automatic exchange of information between the EU Member States on potentially aggressive tax planning. The UK Regulations will require any CBA involving two countries, where at least one is an EU Member State (considered to include the UK) to be reported where it meets certain criteria (referred to as the “Hallmarks”) that could indicate aggressive tax planning – these are known as a reportable CBA, or “RCBA”.  The obligation to disclose such an arrangement will be on an intermediary involved in the arrangement. Although classed as intermediaries, lawyers will usually be exempt from submitting a report due to legal professional privilege.

On 8 May 2020, in response to the global pandemic, the European Commission published a proposal to delay disclosure deadlines imposed by DAC6 by three months but it should be noted that the proposal only defers the reporting deadlines, the beginning of the application of DAC 6 remains 1 July 2020. Professional advisers will need to be alert to DAC6 and clients will notice amended terms of engagement and a new focus from the outset on these new compliance obligations as penalties for non-compliance can be up to £1 million in serious cases.

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Increased Investment in Personal Tax Compliance in the UK (Published in Thought Leaders 4 Private Client)

Advances in technology and increased international fiscal co-operation have made global personal tax compliance initiatives pop up in abundance in recent years. To compound the issue, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the corresponding economic fallout prompted domestic governments to increase transparency in relation to investments held by wealthy foreign individuals (with a focus on oligarchs).

In the UK, in the context of the cost-of-living crisis, public opinion certainly seems to be in favour of increased accountability for high-net-worth individuals (eg, on 9 October 2022, 63% of Britons surveyed thought that “the rich are not paying enough and their taxes should be increased”).1

HMRC is one of the most sophisticated tax collection authorities in the world and the department is making significant investments in technology in the field of compliance work; they are well placed to take advantage of new international efforts to increase tax compliance, particularly considering the already extensive network of 130 bilateral tax treaties in the UK (the largest in the world).2 The UK was also a founding member of the OECD’s Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC) forum.

This article discusses the main developments in support of the increased focus on international transparency and personal tax compliance in the UK. There are other international fiscal initiatives, particularly in the field of corporate taxation, but such initiatives are beyond the scope of this article.

It should be noted that a somewhat piecemeal approach, with constant tinkering makes compliance difficult for the taxpayer and is often criticised for lacking the certainty that a stable tax system needs to thrive.

This article was first published with ThoughtLeaders4 Private Client Magazine

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