In Puksar v Finance Directorate of the Slovak Republic C-73/16, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has confirmed that tax authorities may use taxpayers’ personal data for the purposes of collecting taxes and combatting fraud, provided that a number of conditions are satisfied.

The tax authority in question had used a taxpayer’s personal data in drawing up a confidential list of individuals considered to be “front-men” in company director roles, without their consent. The CJEU confirmed that this use was acceptable.

The CJEU considered the phrase “tasks carried out in the public interest”, as set out in Article 7(e) of Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC), did not preclude the processing of personal data. However, tasks must be legally assigned to tax authorities within the meaning of Article 7(e), the drawing up of such a list and the inclusion of individual names must be adequate and necessary and there must be sufficient indications to assume that the individuals’ names are rightly included. All of the conditions set out in the Directive for the lawfulness of processing must be satisfied.

A copy of the CJEU decision is available to view here.