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(1) No obligation as to secrecy imposed by statute or otherwise precludes the Commissioners or an authorised officer of the Commissioners from disclosing to the competent authorities of another member State any information required to be so disclosed by virtue of the Mutual Assistance Directive.
(2) Neither the Commissioners nor an authorised officer shall disclose any information in pursuance of the Mutual Assistance Directive unless satisfied that the competent authorities of the other State are bound by, or have undertaken to observe, rules of confidentiality with respect to the information that are not less strict than those applying to it in the United Kingdom.
(3) Nothing in this section permits the Commissioners or an authorised officer of the Commissioners to authorise the use of information disclosed by virtue of the Mutual Assistance Directive otherwise than for the purposes of taxation or to facilitate legal proceedings for failure to observe the tax laws of the receiving State.
(4) In this section—
“the Commissioners” means the Commissioners of Inland Revenue or the Commissioners of Customs and Excise;
the “Mutual Assistance Directive” means Council Directive 77/799/EEC, as amended by Council Directives 79/1070/EEC and 92/12/EEC.
(5) The Treasury may by order make such provision amending the definition of the “Mutual Assistance Directive” in subsection (4) as appears to them appropriate for the purpose of giving effect to any Council Directive adopted after 16th April 2003 amending or replacing the Mutual Assistance Directive.
(6) An order under subsection (5) shall be made by statutory instrument which shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of the House of Commons.
(7) In section 48 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 (c 23) (VAT representatives)—
(a) in subsection (1B) (meaning of “the mutual assistance provisions”) for paragraphs (a) and (b) substitute—
“(a) section 134 of the Finance Act 2002 and Schedule 39 to that Act (recovery of taxes etc due in other member States);
(b) section 197 of the Finance Act 2003 (exchange of information between tax authorities of member States);”;
(b) after subsection (8) insert—
“(9) The Treasury may by order amend the definition of “the mutual assistance provisions” in subsection (1B) above.”.
This Act received Royal Assent on 10 July 2003 and this section came into force on that date in the absence of any specific commencement provision.