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March 13, 2019

15 countries added to EU tax blacklist

By Joe Pickard

The European Commission has added 15 countries to its blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions based on the Commission’s screening.

Of those countries, five have taken no commitments since the first blacklist was adopted in 2017: American Samoa, Guam, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, and US Virgin Islands.

Barbados, United Arab Emirates and Marshall Islands were placed back on the blacklist after failing to follow up on commitments they had made. All three were on the original 2017 blacklist.

A further seven countries were moved from the grey list to the blacklist for the same reason: Aruba, Belize, Bermuda, Fiji, Oman, Vanuatu and Dominica.

Another 34 countries will continue to be monitored in 2019 on the grey list, while 25 countries from the original screening process have now been cleared.

The EU’s list is used as a tool to tackle risks of tax abuse and unfair tax competition across the globe. The list is based on a criteria comprising of tax transparency, good governance and real economic activity, and the existence of a zero corporate tax rate.

The consequences of been on the blacklist comprise of a set of countermeasures which EU member states can choose to apply against listed countries. These include increased monitoring and audits, withholding taxes, special documentation requirements and anti-abuse provisions.

Additionally EU legislation prohibits EU funds from being channelled or transited through entities in countries on the tax blacklist.

Commissioner for economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs, Pierre Moscovici said: "The EU tax havens list is a true European success. It has had a resounding effect on tax transparency and fairness worldwide.

“Thanks to the listing process, dozens of countries have abolished harmful tax regimes and have come into line with international standards on transparency and fair taxation. The countries that did not comply have been blacklisted, and will have to face the consequences that this brings. We are raising the bar of tax good governance globally and cutting out the opportunities for tax abuse."

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