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Taxation and Customs Union

Administrative Co-operation and Mutual assistance

Mutual assistance between the Member States in the tax field has been established for a long time. Mutual assistance in the field of direct taxation has been possible since 1977 in accordance with Council Directive 77/799/EC. This Directive complemented the existing provisions on mutual assistance in bilateral tax treaties concluded between the Member States. However, it was not able to respond to the challenges of the new globalised era. Therefore, the directive was replaced by Council Directive 2011/16/EU (see Administrative cooperation - A new directive in the field of (direct) taxation).

When the internal market was created and the physical border controls were abolished, it was necessary to set up a control system to manage the VAT control of intra-community trade, the VAT Information Exchange System (VIES). The necessary arrangements for administrative cooperation in the VAT field were set up by the Council Regulation 218/92/EC.

Mutual assistance in recovery of taxes, customs and certain fees was established in the Community in 1976, when Directive 76/308/EC was adopted. This directive was extended to VAT by Directive 79/1071/EC, to excise duties by Directive 92/108/EC, and to taxes on income, capital and insurance premiums by Directive 2001/44/EC.


The creation of the internal market with no physical borders has rendered a steadily increased cross border trade, increased mobility as well as the feature of electronic markets. This has made it necessary to continuously modernise the legal instruments for mutual assistance and make cooperation between tax administrations more efficient.

The following documents reflect the most recent update of these legal instruments:

Risk Management

Risk Management is designed to improve the tax administration's effectiveness in dealing with risks. This may result in measures aimed at avoiding non-compliance by taxpayers, or the better targeting of corrective action.

The Compliance Risk Management (CRM) Guide is a handbook for EU tax administrations, recently revised to better position the compliance risk management in the digital era. It was developed and updated by tax officials to provide a common foundation for decisions at all management levels. The guide outlines the pillars of CRM strategies, from influencing taxpayer behaviour, over all CRM process to making optimum use of digitalisation, data and technology.

31 JANUARY 2024
Compliance Risk Management Guide For Tax Administrations