(08 November 2017) – The European Commission is demanding that member states reach an agreement on an EU tax haven black list, in the wake of media revelations of widespread tax avoidance schemes by the wealthy elite known as the Paradise Papers.
Pierre Moscovici, the EU finance commissioner, told reporters on Monday (6 November) that governments needs to “rapidly adopt a European tax haven list”, which is also “credible”. “There is no point in just having one country on the black list tax havens,” he said. He noted EU Commission proposals to crack down on aggressive tax planning by bankers, lawyers, and law firms needed to be moved forward.
Although not a single EU state will appear on the list, capitals have been reluctant given that some of their own jurisdictions are themselves offshore entities. Instead, around 92 other jurisdictions had earlier this year been sent letters as an initial screening to see if they comply with the rules. Of those, the Financial Times reports some 53 countries and territories have recently been warned to clean up their tax code or risk being on the December list.
“The British are particularly sceptical about the EU’s black list of tax havens, for self-protection,” said German Green MEP Sven Giegold, in a statement. He described Britain and its overseas territories as one of the world’s largest tax havens, noting the Caribbean islands offer a zero percent corporate tax rate.
A similar list was first published in 2015 and had excluded known corporate tax havens like the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Malta and the UK. (EUobserver)