European Union creates blacklist of 17 'tax haven' countries

European Union creates blacklist of 17 'tax haven' countries

European Union creates blacklist of 17 'tax haven' countries

The 17 extra-EU jurisdictions seen as "not cooperative on tax matters" are South Korea, American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, Macau, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, St. Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

"I, therefore, call on the Finance Ministers to avoid any naivety on commitments", adds Moscovici, as the third countries that have taken commitments must change their tax laws a" s soon as possible", according to the Commissioner, urging national governments and ministers to agree swiftly on "dissuasive national sanctions", and to use all means to keep up the pressure on all of these countries. Fondi said officials in Brussels were still discussing what the full consequences for the UAE of being listed would be.

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.

BEPS is an agreement signed by some OECD member countries to tackle tax avoidance strategies that allow multinational companies to shift profits artificially to low or no-tax locations. "We must not accept unfair tax competition and opacity".

He admitted however that some practices should be "prohibited" or "fought" in some member states.

But some countries, including France, have said that listed jurisdictions should also face sanctions.

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Tove Maria Ryding, from Eurodad, another NGO, said that the list "looks like an attempt to divert attention away from the fact that European Union governments have failed to clean up their own house".

"If EU governments really wanted to get rid of tax havens, they should be open about the fact that several EU Member States, such as Luxembourg, Ireland and the Netherlands, also have to fundamentally change their behaviour".

The European Commission - the EU's executive arm - says that the threat of being on the list can itself incentivize countries to bring their tax systems in line with EU standards, for fear of being named and shamed.

This second list includes Switzerland, Turkey and Hong Kong.

The announcement comes less than a month after the publication of the Paradise Papers, a global leak containing information about individuals and companies holding offshore finances. By naming and shaming the non-compliant tax jurisdictions, the European Union aimed to increase good tax governance worldwide, combat the use of tax schemes overseas and prevent large-scale tax abuse.

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