§ Mr. Maude
In accordance with the Council directive of 19 December 1977 (77/799/EEC), competent authorities of the member states may exchange certain information to enable them to assess taxpayers correctly. These exchanges are subject to certain safeguards to preserve the confidentiality of the information and were given legislative effect in section 77 of the Finance Act 1978.
The directive was extended to VAT on 6 December 1979 (79/1070/EEC) and all exchanges are subject to the confidentiality safeguards of directive 77/799/EEC. Directive 79/1070/EEC was implemented by section 17(2) of the Finance Act 1980. There is currently a proposal to extend directive 77/799/EEC to include excise duties on manufactured tobacco, alcohol and alcoholic beverages and mineral oils.