Government hails European Union tax haven blacklist


By naming and shaming the non-compliant tax jurisdictions, the European Union aims to increase good tax governance worldwide South Korea and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were placed on the list, alongside Panama - which was at the heart of the 'Panama Papers' a year ago - and Caribbean nations such as Grenada and Saint Lucia.

According to a report by the Independent, blacklisted countries face sanctions and could lose access to European Union funds.

WIC News understands that the list will be updated regularly. "To avoid getting on the list, a great many nations have already shown to be cooperative", Vandenkendelaere said.

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.

The Government said that of the global tax standards the country has and hasn't adopted, "the sole outstanding issue is the implementation of the base erosion and profit shifting minimum standards, which we have committed to finalize by October 2018 and ratify by March 2019 - giving our federal structure sufficient time to allow for ratification across the seven emirates".

The EU's penalties on the blacklisted countries still need to be confirmed.

Panama's president, Juan Carlos Varela, objected to his country being on the list, saying it is making progress against tax evasion.

The list is a result of excessive screening of more third countries before the ministers made up their mind that these 17 non-EU countries will be blacklisted, while another 47 will be included in a separate gray list, to be monitored for their compliance with commitments undertaken.

"To be on a blacklist is in itself bad enough and of course there will be consequences for these countries", Luxembourg Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna said. "Our aim is to ensure that good tax governance becomes the new norm", he said in a statement.

Though being hailed as a vital "first step", the failure of the member states to come to an agreement on any sanctions for those blacklisted provoked the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, Pierre Moscovici, to openly admit it was as yet "an insufficient response".

French minister Bruno Le Maire noted that designing sanctions would be a "question of credibility" for the EU's anti-tax havens action.

"It seems the EU's pressure has obliged some of the most notorious tax havens like Switzerland and Bermuda to commit to reforms", said Aurore Chardonnet, from the Oxfam NGO.

In a blow to activists, states that charge no corporate tax are not automatically considered at risk of breaching European Union tax criteria.

The bloc did not assess its own member states.