The first ever EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions was agreed Tuesday by the Finance Ministers of EU Member States during their meeting in Brussels. The new list is part of the EU’s work to clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance following the scandals in the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers.
According to the European Commission the list will help the EU to deal more robustly with external threats to Member States’ tax bases and to tackle third countries that consistently refuse to play fair on tax matters.
In total, 17 countries were listed for failing to meet agreed tax good governance standards. In addition, 47 countries have committed to addressing deficiencies in their tax systems and to meet the required criteria, following contacts with the EU.
Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “The adoption of the first ever EU blacklist of tax havens marks a key victory for transparency and fairness,” said Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs.
“But the process does not stop here. We must intensify the pressure on listed countries to change their ways. 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.”
The following countries are included in the black list: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macao, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, and United Arab Emirates.
In a recent report, the non-profit Oxfam applied the EU’s own criteria to the 92 countries screened by the EU, as well as to the 28 EU Member States. According to the analysis, at least 35 non-EU countries should have been included in the EU blacklist, and 4 EU member states: Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Malta.
Oxfam’s list is based on a combination of a country’s tax transparency, its tax rate and its participation in global anti-tax avoidance agreements.
EU explains that its list is a tool to deal with external threats to Member States’ tax bases. “Member States’ laws have been put in conformity with global standards over the past three years.”
“Thanks to these changes, the EU is now is the lead when it comes to tax standards. It should be noted that, when assessed against the EU list criteria, all Member States are fully compliant,” the Commission says.