Shell Companies Within The European Fight Against Tax Avoidance and Evasion

Shell Companies Within The European Fight Against Tax Avoidance and Evasion
Photo by Chris Barbalis / Unsplash

I have recently attended the Shell Companies Within The European Fight Against Tax Avoidance and Evasion, held by the Universita Degli Studi Di Milano. The conference was, in my opinion, a complete success with top international speakers from around the world. All experts in their respective field and studies with decades of experience. The quality of the speakers was of the highest standard and each speaker added value by looking at the recently launched and upcoming legislations from a different angle. This gave a much wider and more holistic perspective to the new rules and regulations. The conference address strategic, technical and practical aspects of the law. Prof Pasquale Pistone gave a great introduction on the Commissions’ Unshell Proposal and the Minimum Tax Proposal. It was comforting to see that even seasoned professionals may sometimes feel puzzled on the intent of the legislator!

A detailed understanding of the mechanisms of tax disputes mechanisms and what are the challenges one would face particularly in cross border contestations was also given. A number of speakers discussed the practical side of the law. Some speakers even gave us accountants some numbers to crunch and understand better the impact. One could realise that fiscal policy will still play a big role for each jurisdiction and highly important for countries to remain competitive with the utilisation of QDMTT and QRTC. An insight was given specifically on structures used by HNWI, with specific reference to high-net-worth individuals.

Must admit that the conference was a long one but the speakers in the afternoon did a great job of keeping everyone engaged. Starting with Speaker Anna Manitara who sounded like a walking Google, she explained what the challenges are arising from the Commissions’ proposals specifically in respect to other EU principles. Her academic insights and opinions are definitely ones that will need to be discussed by the Commission. Such a seminar allowed me to look at the Directive from a Maltese perspective. This gave the conference some additional relevance for Maltese practitioners but it was definitely an International one. Such a seminar leads me now to believe more then ever that substance over form is crucial and that the standard testing once used in the past to determine nexus to tax is soon to be obsolete.

Edward-Hector Spiteri

Phd Student at the faculty of law at the University of Ferrara.