(06 December 2017) – The first ever EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions was agreed yesterday by the Finance Ministers of EU Member States during their meeting in Brussels.
In total, ministers have named and shamed 17 countries and put a further 47 on notice, including British overseas territories and the crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, in an attempt to clamp down on the estimated €572bn lost to aggressive avoidance every year.
According to the Commission, “This unprecedented exercise should raise the level of tax good governance globally and help prevent the large-scale tax abuse exposed in recent scandals such as the ‘Paradise Papers’”.
However, Aurore Chardonnet, Oxfam’s EU policy adviser on inequality and tax, voiced concerns that the bloc had so far picked only on smaller countries. She said: “It is disturbing to see mostly small countries on the EU blacklist, while the most notorious tax havens got away on the ‘grey list’. The EU has to make sure governments on the grey list follow up on their commitments, or else they must be blacklisted.”
The EU listing process is a dynamic one, which will continue into 2018:
• As a first step, a letter will be sent to all jurisdictions on the EU list, explaining the decision and what they can do to be de-listed.
• The Commission and Member States (in the Code of Conduct Group) will continue to monitor all jurisdictions closely, to ensure that commitments are fulfilled and to determine whether any other countries should be listed in the future. A first interim progress report should be published by mid-2018. The EU list will be updated at least once a year.