Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

European Union blacklists 17 nations as tax avoidance havens

European Union blacklists 17 nations as tax avoidance havens

The EU blacklist list includes 17 countries: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, Korea (Republic of), Macau, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates.

As for the Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis that also attended the meeting on behalf of the EU executive, he said that as a number of third countries have entered into commitments as regard to good tax governance and the European Commission "will be following up those commitments".

The EU's penalties on the blacklisted countries still need to be confirmed. These EU standards concern tax transparency and fair taxation and require implementation of the minimum standards set out in the OECD/G20 base erosion profit shifting (BEPS) plan agreements. British overseas territories and crown dependencies, such as the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, were featured on this, despite being involved in numerous tax avoidance schemes.

"The UAE has worked to meet the EU's requirements in terms of exchanging tax-related information", said the financial official.

Although the blacklisted jurisdictions will not be eligible for European Union funds, unless it is to aid development, member states failed to agree on any financial sanctions.

Moscovici reportedly said the countries on the greylist that had made commitments to change their tax laws must do so "as soon as possible", and called on ministers "to agree quickly on dissuasive national sanctions".

The Council concluded that these countries are non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes because they did not meet Council criteria established in November 2016 and did not provide a sufficient commitment to meet these criteria in the future.

"We must do everything we can to keep up the pressure on all of these countries", he said.

The papers made public some of the intricate ways the world's richest individuals and entities evade paying taxes using offshore havens.

Meanwhile, EU also issued a "watch list" for tax evasion consisting of 47 other nations.

"The result of the flawed blacklisting process is a politically led list, that includes only the economically weak and politically unconnected", he added. "For those that are on today's list, we hope that this increased scrutiny and the potential for counter-measures will lead them to reconsider their approach".

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