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Government hails European Union tax haven blacklist

Government hails European Union tax haven blacklist

The move was hailed as a vital "first step" but the failure of the member states to agree on any sanctions for those on the blacklist provoked the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, Pierre Moscovici, to concede it was as yet "an insufficient response", reports The Guardian. Some states support tough restrictions against the listed tax havens such as exclusion from World Bank or European Union funding but the discussions are still ongoing.

The EU said in a statement of Tuesday that the goal of the list is to ensure its partners adhere to the same tax standards as itself, calling it "a key victory for transparency and fairness". "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.

He said the pressure on listed countries to change must be intensified.

The investigation into the tax havens began in September 2016, eventually leading to a list of 17 countries: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macau, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and the UAE.

"Blacklisted jurisdictions must face consequences in the form of dissuasive sanctions, while those that have made commitments must follow up on them quickly and credibly".




Other measures that could be taken at a national level - but which will be at the discretion of each country - include withholding tax measures, non-deductibility of costs, and special documentation requirements.

The clock is counting down: Now that tax reform bills have made their way through the House and Senate, Republicans in both chambers are working to iron out the differences between the two bills - with a goal of overhauling the United States tax system by December 22.

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.

Countries in the EU's firing line have been given an opportunity to stay off the list if they provide a political commitment and a detailed plan to comply.

This country was also named in the Panama Papers a year ago. Some large companies - including Apple, General Electric, and others - often stash billions of dollars overseas in tax havens, like Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands, so they can effectively defer payment of their taxes.


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