EU tries to keep multinationals from using tax loopholes

European Union finance ministers have agreed to new rules aimed at preventing multinational companies from exploiting differences in tax rates between countries in the EU and those outside the bloc.

At a meeting in Brussels, the 28 ministers backed the new rules, which will target various practices whereby large corporations can take advantage of loopholes between the tax systems of EU member states and non-EU countries in order to reduce their tax liability.

Critics say these so-called "hybrid mismatches" have been used by many large companies, including the likes of Apple and McDonald's, to reduce their tax payments.

EU member states will have until the end of 2019 to legislate Tuesday's agreement. By then, Britain will be out of the EU should the government's exit timetable go to plan.