The European Union has released a blacklist of 17 countries named as “non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes”. The decision was made at a meeting of finance ministers in Brussels aimed at further sensitizing the EU authorities on the issue of tax avoidance and evasion in the light of the repeated requests in terms of transparency sent to the different countries over the past year. The 17 blacklisted territories are: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macau, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. The EU made exceptions for countries faced with natural disasters such as hurricanes, and put the process temporarily on hold.
Another 47 countries have also been included in a “grey list” of countries not compliant with EU tax standards but who have committed to change their rules. These countries will have to adopt EU standards by the end of 2018, or 2019 for developing countries, to avoid being included in the blacklist. Also British overseas territories and the crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have been placed on the grey list.
EU tax commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the blacklist represented “substantial progress”, adding: “Its very existence is an important step forward. But because it is the first EU list, it remains an insufficient response to the scale of tax evasion worldwide”.
In this regard, members of the European Parliament criticised the absence of certain countries from the list.
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