AMLD 4 to enable access to information on beneficial ownership

Published: 15 November 2016

The EU Council agreed last week on a proposal, that will grant access for tax authorities to information held by authorities responsible for the prevention of money laundering. The directive will require member states to enable access to information on the beneficial ownership of companies (It will apply as from 1 January 2018).The proposal is one of a number of measures set out by the Commission in July 2016 (here), in the wake of the April 2016 Panama Papers revelations. The EU has made significant developments in recent years to enhance tax transparency and strengthen cooperation between the member states' tax authorities. And recent amendments to anti-money-laundering legislation recognise the links between money laundering and tax evasion, as well as the challenges faced in prevention. The directive will enable access that information in monitoring the proper application of rules on the automatic exchange of tax information. Where a financial account holder is an intermediary structure, financial institutions are required by directive 2014/107/EU (DAC4) to look through that entity and report its beneficial ownership. Applying that provision relies on information held by authorities responsible for the prevention of money laundering, pursuant to directive 2015/849/EU (AMLD4). The EU Parliament's Committees on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) have published a draft report on the proposed Directive, which will need discussion before the Directive is adopted. If you have any questions in relation to this, please contact Jennifer Wood.