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EU adds Bermuda, UAE to revised tax haven blacklist

EU adds Bermuda, UAE to revised tax haven blacklist

Photo © haveseen - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - EU finance ministers added Bermuda, the United Arabic Emirates and eight other jurisdictions to a list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes Tuesday, bringing to 15 the number of countries on the list.

In addition to the 5 jurisdictions already listed, the revised EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions now includes the following 10 jurisdictions: Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu.

The jurisdictions are placed on the list because they did not implement by an agreed deadline commitments they had made to the EU.

"Today we completed our first comprehensive revision of the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions," said Romania's finance minister Eugen Teodorovici, for the EU presidency: "Since it was first adopted in late 2017, the list has proven its worth in promoting forward in a cooperative manner the EU's agenda of improving global tax practices, fighting tax avoidance and improving good governance and transparency: more than 30 jurisdictions have already delivered on their commitment to pass tax reforms."

The list, part of the EU's external strategy for taxation as defined by the Council, is intended to contribute to ongoing efforts to prevent tax avoidance and promote tax good governance worldwide.

Work on the list started in mid-2016 within the Council's working group responsible for implementing an EU code of conduct on business taxation. In November 2016, the Council agreed on the process to be followed and laid down criteria for screening third country jurisdictions, namely:

  • what a jurisdiction should fulfil to be considered compliant on tax transparency;
  • what a jurisdiction should fulfil to be considered compliant on fair taxation;
  • that OECD anti-BEPS (tax base erosion and profit shifting) minimum standards are being implemented.

On this basis, the Council approved and published conclusions containing an EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions in December 2017. It also agreed on the further process, and recommended 'defensive' measures with regard to the listed jurisdictions.

The first list was established following a screening of the 92 third country jurisdictions concerned conducted during 2017 and composed of the jurisdictions that did not take meaningful commitments to address deficiencies identified by the EU.

Most commitments taken by third country jurisdictions were with a deadline of end 2018, whilst their enactment in national law was carefully monitored at technical level by the Code of Conduct Group on business taxation until the beginning of this year. The Council adopted the revised EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions resulting from this exercise and endorsed a revised state of play with respect to pending commitments.

The work on the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions is a dynamic process. The Council will continue to regularly review and update the list in the coming years, taking into consideration the evolving deadlines for jurisdictions to deliver on their commitments and the evolution of the listing criteria that the EU uses to establish the list.

Economic and Financial Affairs Council, 12/03/2019

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