EU adopts new tax-haven blacklist; Oman, UAE, Bermuda & Belize on the list

Image: Politico

European Union governments adopted a broadened blacklist of tax havens on Tuesday, the EU commission said in a statement.

Ten jurisdictions were added to the list. It had previously included five.

Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu and Dominica are added to the list.

The additions are the largest review of the list since the EU adopted it in December 2017. It was drawn up after revelations of widespread tax-avoidance schemes used by corporations and wealthy individuals to lower their tax bills.

Jurisdictions are added to the list if their tax rules enable tax evasion in other states. They are removed if they commit to reforms.

Blacklisted jurisdictions face stricter controls on transactions with the EU, although no sanctions have yet been agreed by EU states.

Background

Broadly speaking, ‘tax havens’ provide taxpayers, both legal and natural persons, with opportunities for tax avoidance, while their secrecy and opacity also serves to hide the origin of the proceeds of illegal and criminal activities. One might ask why establishing a list of tax havens or high-risk countries is useful. Drawing up such lists started with action to stop harmful tax practices arising from the discrepancy between the global reach of financial flows and the geographically limited scope of jurisdictions, matching or inside national borders. However tax havens are referred to, they all have one thing in common: they make it possible to escape taxation.

Distinctive characteristics of tax havens include low or zero taxation, fictitious residences (with no bearing on reality) and tax secrecy. The last two are key methods for hiding ultimate beneficial owners. In the EU, the process of adopting a common list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, which is also central to determining whether a third country presents a high risk in relation to money-laundering, was initiated as part of efforts to further good tax governance and its external dimension. On 5 December 2017, the Council adopted a first common list resulting from the assessment of third countries against distinctive criteria. Pursuing the assessment process, the Council has updated the list on the basis of commitments received, while also reviewing countries that had not yet been assessed.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Melanie Romaro

Melanie Romaro is a Former Geopolitical Analyst at The Kootneeti. She holds a Masters degree in Political Science & International Relations from the State University of Colorado. She can be reached at melainieromaro@gmail.com

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