Report on comparative legal and institutional analysis

Report on comparative legal and institutional analysis


Tax evasion and corruption represent significant barriers that divide the EU Member States and people, undermine the rule of law and democracy, erode the trust of the people in the public and private sectors.

In order to support the efforts to overcome the barriers and facilitate the building of bridges between European countries and citizens, there is a need to develop new studies aimed at identifying strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunity to implement the legal and institutional frameworks designed to counter tax crimes and corruption in tax administration where the specific problem of the “fiscal corruption” can be identified.

To this end, this comparative legal and institutional analysis contains two interconnected planes of investigation focusing on a comparative legal and institutional analysis of tax crimes and on the interferences of and/or symbiotic relation between corruption and tax crimes.

The comparative analysis focuses on:

  • The scope and definitions of tax crimes in their legal and institutional environment within the European Union and across selected Member States. The analysis highlights the weaknesses of the current common approach to tax crimes and maps the national legal frameworks of selected Member States to develop a comparative study on the matter.
  • An overview of the relationships between tax crimes and corruption to draw attention to the problem of “fiscal corruption.” The combined analysis of the impact of corruption on tax crimes includes:
    • new findings that can form a part of a more comprehensive basis of data to be used to develop new policy recommendations
    • a toolkit containing guidelines for law enforcement authorities designed to prevent and counter these crimes within the EU and its Member States.

Key Findings

  • Corruption and tax evasion are generally analysed as distinct criminal phenomena, but this study shows that corruption and tax evasion, often committed in conjunction with money laundering, have a significant and adverse impact and stresses the importance of developing an integrated EU approach to foster good governance and tax compliance.
  • Even though the EU is one of the best scoring regions globally, according to the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, there is a risk that a higher level of tax evasion in countries with a higher perception of corruption can encourage illegal practices.
  • The criminalisation of tax evasion continues to fall mainly within the EU Member States’ competence, even if the EU Directive on the fight against fraud to the Union’s financial interests by means of criminal law imposes the Member States to criminalise fraud affecting Union revenues. The decision-making process on the fight against corruption and effective criminalisation and punishment of corruption-related offences have been strongly supported by international institutions (EU, CoE, OECD, and UN).
  • There are various gaps in the existing international, EU and national legal instruments related to tax crimes and corruption, for instance, a lack of a harmonised concept of tax crime and the methods to counter it in connection with corruption.
  • Although most of the EU Member States have introduced legislation on legal entities’ liability for tax crimes and/or corruption, there are consistent differences in counter these corporate offences.

Please note that the law cited were valid and correct at the time of the reports publication.