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etvfutures.com December 18, 2017


European Union reveals first tax haven blacklist

07 December 2017, 09:11 | Lena Norman

John Riva

John Riva

The list is a result of excessive screening of more third countries before the ministers made up their mind that these 17 non-EU countries will be blacklisted, while another 47 will be included in a separate gray list, to be monitored for their compliance with commitments undertaken.

Recently, the BATT expressed concern after the Global Forum recognized this country as the only jurisdiction not considered to have made sufficient progress towards satisfactory implementation of the agreed tax transparency standards.

The move was hailed as a vital "first step" but the failure of the member states to agree on any sanctions for those on the blacklist provoked the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, Pierre Moscovici, to concede it was as yet "an insufficient response", reports The Guardian. The bloc plans to update the list at least once a year.

Is this enough? It seems that even today, some member states such as France, think that jurisdictions should also face some form of sanction.

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"We want this list to be complete and effective". "We have adopted at European Union level a list of states which are not doing enough to fight tax evasion", Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, said in Brussels. These include stricter monitoring of transactions and increased audit risks for taxpayers benefiting from the regimes involved, or for those using these jurisdictions' structures.

The Council said countries may adopt further measures at their discretion, like non-deductibility of costs, controlled foreign company (CFC) rules, withholding tax measures, limitations on the participation exemption, a switch-over rule, a reversal of the burden of proof, special documentation requirements, or provisions requiring mandatory disclosure by tax intermediaries of specific tax schemes with respect to cross-border arrangements. It justified this by saying the list is specifically focused on external threats, adding that internal procedures are already in place to make sure tax policy within the bloc is fair and transparent.

The "repatriation provision" proposed by Republicans would change give American companies a tax break - allowing them to pay a minimum of 10 percent tax on some types overseas earnings (in the Senate version of the bill) and a 20 percent tax on domestic profits. "If we see that countries are not implementing the commitments, there is the possibility that they will end up on this tax list".

The EU has struggled for more than a year to finalise the list, with smaller, low-tax EU nations such as Ireland, Malta and Luxembourg anxious that it may scare off multinationals.



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