The European Union has officially published its first list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. It was agreed by EU finance ministers in Brussels on December 5.
“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. There must be no naivety: promises must be turned into actions. No one must get a free pass.”
The list includes 17 countries that are failing to meet agreed tax good governance standards. These are American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macau, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, St Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia and the UAE.
Another 47 countries have committed to addressing deficiencies in their tax systems and to meet the required criteria, following contacts with the EU.
The 47 countries should meet EU criteria by the end of 2018, or 2019 for developing countries without financial centres, to avoid being listed. The Commission also expects Member States to continue towards strong and dissuasive countermeasures for listed jurisdictions which can complement the existing EU-level defensive measures related to funding.
As for the 17 countries on the list, a letter will be sent explaining the decision and what they can do to be de-listed.
The first interim progress report should is slated for publication mid-2018. The EU list will be updated at least once a year.