Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Grenada and St Lucia named on European Union 'tax haven' blacklist

Grenada and St Lucia named on European Union 'tax haven' blacklist

"We remain fully committed to maintaining the highest worldwide standards of financial oversight and tax regulation and will continue to work with our global partners to deliver this", the finance ministry said in a statement.

The 17 countries that could potentially face sanctions for failing to bring their standards in line with the EU's published requirements, are South Korea, Panama, Bahrain, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, as well as Barbados, Samoa, American Samoa, Grenada, Guam, Macau, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, according to an ECOFIN announcement.

The UK's Guardian reported that the blacklist will be linked to European Union legislation so that jurisdictions implicated will not be eligible for funds from the bloc, except where funds are for development.

The EU's penalties on the blacklisted countries still need to be confirmed.

The list was made on the basis of three main components: tax transparency, fair tax competition and implementation of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), which is a way of battling tax avoidance created by the OECD.

"The placement in the list must not be seen as the end game: on the contrary, the exercise is ongoing and remains a matter of cooperation between partners", he said.

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"We have committed to a reform process which will be finalised by October 2018, and we are absolutely confident this will ensure the UAE is swiftly removed from the list", Khouri said.

"There's still a number of countries which entered into commitments as regard to good tax governance and we will be following up [on] those commitments", European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday ahead of the meeting.

He admitted however that some practices should be "prohibited" or "fought" in some member states. Lower-tax countries like Ireland and the Netherlands argue that will hurt Europe's competitiveness.

A second public "grey list" or "watchlist", of 47 jurisdictions that have committed to changing their tax rules to abide by European Union standards on transparency and cooperation was also adopted. Among them are Switzerland, Morocco, Turkey, Qatar, Thailand and Hong Kong.

The issue has come under scrutiny in the past years following the release of the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers documents which show how corporations and individuals avoid paying taxes through tax havens such as Panama, the Bahamas, the US Virgin Islands. By naming and shaming the non-compliant tax jurisdictions, the European Union aimed to increase good tax governance worldwide, combat the use of tax schemes overseas and prevent large-scale tax abuse.

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