Members of the European parliament (MEPs) [have approved plans](http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20161117IPR51550/tax-evasion-meps-back-automatic-exchange-of-bank-data-to-track-account-owners) to allow European tax authorities to automatically share certain information about bank account holders in order to prevent tax evasion and other financial crimes. Changes to a 2011 directive on “administrative cooperation” in tax matters come into force immediately, and must be implemented by member states before the end of 2017. The resolution voted on by MEPs highlighted the need for “close cooperation and coordination among EU countries”, given the close links between money laundering, terrorist financing, organised crime and tax evasion.
The new rules will enable and oblige tax authorities that have anti-money laundering responsibilities to automatically share bank account information with their counterparts in other member states, wherever they are in the EU. The information covered includes bank account balances, interest income and dividends.
*”Huge efforts made in transparency are the only way to fight against this scourge [tax evasion] that affects public finances,”* said Emmanuel Maurel, the French MEP who acted as rapporteur on the parliament’s position.