Five EU Member States have agreed to pilot a multilateral tax information exchange facility, under which the countries will automatically exchange financial information with a view to catching and deterring tax evaders. The five Member States piloting this new arrangement are France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. In a joint letter to the EU Commission, the Finance Ministers of the five Members States expressed their hope that other EU Member States will join the programme so that:

“…Europe can take a lead in promoting a global system of automatic information exchange, removing the hiding places for those who would seek to evade paying their taxes”.

The initiative has been welcomed by the EU Commission, which has stated that the automatic exchange of information relating to income and capital payments must be the objective of the EU and the objective of future agreements with third countries.