In a move which is likely to be welcomed, the European Commission has proposed deferring certain deadlines for filing and exchanging information on certain cross-border tax planning arrangements. Depending on the evolution of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Commission has also proposed a further possible extension for a maximum of three further months. 

Both the European Parliament and the Council have been informed about these proposals. The Commission has requested both institutions to adopt these proposals as soon as possible in order to provide legal certainty.

The proposals involve a change to the date for the reporting of the ‘historical’ cross-border arrangements (i.e. arrangements that became reportable from 25 June 2018 to 30 June 2020) from 31 August 2020 to 30 November 2020. It also changes the date for the first exchange of information on reportable cross-border arrangements from 31 October 2020 to 31 January 2021.  These proposals provide taxpayers, Revenue Authorities and those who have reportable arrangements with valuable additional time to better prepare for reporting.

Under the proposals, EU Member States must adopt and publish the laws, regulations and administrative provisions by 31 May 2020. In an Irish context, there is a political challenge to achieving this as the upper legislative chamber (the Seanad) has not been fully constituted following the general election in February 2020.

The Commission's proposal notes that EU Member States will need tax revenues to finance their considerable efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic. The information eventually exchanged may provide Member States with valuable information to close down tax loopholes preventing tax avoidance and tax evasion.