Central Office for International Cooperation
In order for the EU Member States to be able to cooperate closely, particularly in the anti-fraud fight, regulations are needed which also define in particular the exchange of fiscally relevant information within and outside the EU.
International administrative assistance is provided for the tax administration by the Anti-Fraud Office, sector Central Office for International Cooperation.
This division bundles administrative assistance for value added tax and other taxes, administrative assistance for enforcement, legal assistance for financial offences and the processing of reports of suspicions of money laundering with relevance under fiscal law. One focus of the Central Office is the fight against international organised VAT fraud and Austria’s related participation in the European Union’s anti-fraud network EUROFISC and relevant Europol working groups.
In areas that are particularly susceptible to fraud, such as VAT, cooperation between Member States and the associated exchange of information is laid down in a Regulation. This means that each Member State has to fulfil the same obligations and enjoys the same rights.
In direct taxation and administrative assistance for enforcement, the exchange of information is regulated in the form of directives, which means that each Member State must implement the directives into national law, being able to take account of regulations of national law.
In particular in relation to third countries, the exchange of information and, where provided for, recovery assistance is based on existing double-taxation agreements and the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance of the OECD/Council of Europe.
International general administrative assistance and administrative assistance for enforcement
International general administrative assistance and administrative assistance for enforcement are carried out by the teams of the Central Liaison Office. The national procedural law for this is the Administrative Assistance Implementation Act (ADG), which supplements the Austrian Tax Procedure Law.
The teams of the Central Liaison Office are responsible for assessing the admissibility and initiating the handling of incoming and outgoing requests for administrative assistance.
The legal bases for this are
- in the area of VAT, Regulation 904/2010/EU
- in the area of other taxes, in the EU the Directive 2011/16/EU (implemented in the EU Mutual Assistance Act) and outside the EU the double-taxation agreements and the OECD/Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance.
- In the area of administrative assistance for enforcement, Directive 2010/24/EU (implemented in the EU Administrative Enforcement Assistance Act) within the EU and various double-taxation agreements with third countries.
International administrative and judicial assistance in fiscal criminal matters
International administrative and judicial assistance in fiscal criminal matters is provided by the International Cooperation in Fiscal Criminal Investigations (ICFI) team. It is responsible for receiving and assisting in the execution of incoming and outgoing requests.
The legal bases for this are:
- Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA on simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities of the Member States of the European Union (“Swedish Initiative”)
- Directive 2014/41/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 03-APR-2014 on the European Investigation Order in Criminal Matters
- Treaty between the Republic of Austria and the Federal Republic of Germany on Legal Protection and Legal Assistance in Tax Matters of 04-OCT-1954
- Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Member States of the European Union of 29-MAY-2000
- European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 20-APR-1959 (incl. 1st and 2nd Additional Protocols)
- EC-Switzerland Anti-Fraud Agreement
- Police Cooperation Agreement
- Bilateral Conventions on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters
- Enforcement of financial penalties on the basis of Framework Decision 2005/214/JHA
Reports of suspicions of money laundering
The Central Office for International Cooperation is also responsible for the operational tasks of the tax administration in the area of combating money laundering. To this end, reports of suspicions of money laundering from domestic and foreign authorities that could relate to tax or customs offences are analysed by way of cooperation with the Money Laundering Reporting Office at the Federal Criminal Police Office (§ 4 II BKA-G), and further investigations are coordinated with the competent offices and departments of the Federal Finance Administration.