An Overview of the Securing Activity Framework of Enablers (SAFE) Directive

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The European Commission has been revising the Securing Activity Framework of Enablers (SAFE) Directive, with intentions to implement the Directive in due course. The proposed policy carries a number of implications for tax intermediaries, which the Commission refers to as “enablers”.

The SAFE Directive has the admirable goal of fighting tax evasion and aggressive tax planning. The policy aims to prevent certain enablers from setting up complex and non-transparent structures in non-EU countries because these structure erode Member States’ tax bases.

However, in its current state, the framework give rises to certain areas of concern, including

  • An unclear definition of “aggressive tax planning”;
  • The connection of evasion and aggressive tax planning;
  • An unclear definition of “enabler”;
  • A lack of assessment of the effect of recently introduced tax measures on tax evasion and planning;
  • An increase in administrative burden;
  • The effect on the role intermediaries; and
  • The effect on sovereignty.