Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Tax havens are blacklisted by EU

A visitor at the Dubai World Trade Center in Dubai A visitor at the Dubai World Trade Center in Dubai
Melissa Porter | 07 December, 2017, 09:12

EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said this was less than the 20 countries he had hoped for but would be a "initial victory" if confirmed. "No state should escape responsibilities when it doesn't firmly combat tax evasion", French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on his way to the meeting where the blacklist was approved.

Is this enough? It seems that even today, some member states such as France, think that jurisdictions should also face some form of sanction.

The 17 countries that could potentially face sanctions for failing to bring their standards in line with the EU's published requirements, are South Korea, Panama, Bahrain, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, as well as Barbados, Samoa, American Samoa, Grenada, Guam, Macau, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, according to an ECOFIN announcement.

Recently, the BATT expressed concern after the Global Forum recognized this country as the only jurisdiction not considered to have made sufficient progress towards satisfactory implementation of the agreed tax transparency standards.

Several other jurisdictions, including the Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda and the British Virgin Islands failed to comply to the standards set by the European Union as well, but got a temporary pass because they were hit hard by hurricanes this year and might not now have the infrastructure to deal with the problems.

Eurodad, the European Network on Debt and Development, criticised the EU for the lack of will to look at its own member states.

The EU has struggled for over a year to finalise the blacklist, with smaller, low-tax EU nations such as Ireland, Malta and Luxembourg anxious about scaring off multinationals.

"Tax havens will not disappear from our radars and we will keep the pressure on", he said.

Besides the 17 countries that are placed on the blacklist, 47 countries were placed on a so-called "grey-list".

Andorra, Armenia, Aruba, Belize, Botswana, Cape Verde, Cook Islands, Curaçao, Fiji, Hong Kong SAR, Jordan, Labuan Island, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Morocco, Niue, St Vincent & Grenadines, San Marino, Seychelles, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, and Vietnam. That means they promote unfair tax practices, or don't share important financial information with the EU.

The Paradise Papers leak last month gave a new impetus to the plan, making public some of the intricate ways the world's rich evade tax using offshore havens.