Laszlo Kovacs, EU tax commissioner, has begun consulting the savings industry on a range of measures to tighten up the savings directive, which is riddled with exemptions.
One Commission official said the current directive provided a good basis for future work. "There is a degree of disappointment with the way it has worked so far, but optimism that it will succeed when the loopholes are closed."
I agree with that comment. And I agree that the issues being considered, which are as I predicted, tackle those faults.
The FT doubts that countries like Luxembourg, Belgium and Austria will agree to any change. I'm not sure I agree. Times are getting harder for tax fiddling. And I'll add another reason why they might get harder still. We've recently seen a move against the UK and Ireland's domicile rules on the basis that they prevent the free-flow of capital. So too do the banking secrecy laws that are promoted by these states. They are, of course, in contravention of good market principles and the next time the EU is blocked by these countries on this issue expect a challenge on the basis that capital should be able to locate wherever it makes an appropriate return, not where it can be sheltered by secrecy. I can't see the latter being tolerated much longer.
As Bob Dylan once said, the times they are a-changing.