The European Union has published its first blacklist of tax havens, naming 17 territories including Saint Lucia, Barbados and South Korea. A "watchlist" of 47 countries promising to change their tax rules to meet EU standards has also been issued. The "grey list" includes several with UK links, including Hong Kong, Jersey, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, as well as Switzerland and Turkey. Both lists have been criticised as omitting the most notorious tax havens. The lists follow the leaking of the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers, revealing how companies and individuals hid their wealth from tax authorities around the world in offshore accounts. (First tax havens blacklist published by EU, BBC News (5 Dec 2017))
Express deep concern about the inclusion of CARICOM Member States in the lists of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions generated by many partner states in the hemisphere and beyond, including in the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes published on December 5, 2017 by the Council of the European Union, and call for a change to this approach which serves to negatively impact the economies of small vulnerable states that have implemented recognized international standards and have demonstrated a commitment to engage in cooperation and dialogue to find solutions that are mutually beneficial. (DECLARATION OF ST. MARY’S ON THE OCCASION OF THE SIXTH CARICOM-CUBA SUMMIT. ST. MARY’S, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, 8 DECEMBER 2017)
10 Dec 2017
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Cuba and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders have criticised the European Union over its latest list of global tax havens that has included four Caribbean countries.
Earlier this week EU financial ministers named St Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago among 17 countries worldwide, which they claimed had done little to improve their status as tax havens.
Caribbean countries have in the past been very critical of being included on these lists insisting that they have done everything as outlined by various European organisations like the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Following the sixth CARICOM-Cuba summit that ended Friday night, the leaders issued a joint statement expressing “deep concern about the inclusion of CARICOM member states in the lists of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions”.
The EU said that the new list was compiled through a three-step process including the pre-selection of 216 countries worldwide using more than 1600 indicators and that all jurisdictions chosen for screening were formally contacted, to explain the process and invite them to engage with the EU.
St Vincent and the Grenadines is listed as a jurisdiction with improved fair taxation while Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are listed as jurisdictions which introduced substance requirement.
The EU said that as a first step, a letter will be sent to all jurisdictions on the new list, explaining the decision and what they can do to be de-listed.
But in their joint statement, the CARICOM and Cuban leaders called for a change in the EU practise of listing countries as tax havens, saying “this approach …serves to negatively impact the economies of small vulnerable states that have implemented recognised international standards and have demonstrated a commitment to engage in cooperation and dialogue to find solutions that are mutually beneficial”.