Sunday 27 May, 2018

EU removes 8 countries from tax haven list, T&T to remain blacklisted

The European Union (EU) will remove eight countries from its tax haven list.

The eight countries to be struck from the EU tax haven list include Panama, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Mongolia, Macau, Grenada and Barbados.

However, Trinidad and Tobago along with Saint Lucia, Bahrain, Guam, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, American Samoa and Namibia will remain on the EU’s tax haven list.

Last year, the EU announced an original list of 17 countries, as it moved to clamp down on tax avoidance by non-compliant countries and discourage the use of shell structures abroad.

According to a Reuters article, eight of the 17 jurisdictions currently listed are set to be quickly removed from the list after they offered to change their tax rules.

The proposal to delist the countries will be discussed by EU ambassadors this week and is expected to be adopted by EU finance ministers when they meet next week in Brussels.

According to Reuters, the proposal for the delisting was made by the so-called Code of Conduct Group, which gathers tax experts from the 28 EU member states.

It monitors countries’ commitments to abide by EU standards on tax matters.

The article noted that if the recommendation is confirmed by EU ministers, the eight jurisdictions will be moved to a so-called gray list which includes those who have committed to change their rules on tax transparency and cooperation.

The grey list currently includes 47 jurisdictions.

According to Reuters, the proposed removal of Panama may cause a particular outcry, as it has been at the centre of one of the largest disclosures of offshore schemes, the Panama Papers.

The Panama Papers is an unprecedented leak of 11.5m files from the database of the world’s fourth-biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

Meanwhile, T&T’s government has not yet responded to this latest development.

However, Attorney General Faris Al Rawi has said in the past that government is working assiduously to ensure that this country is tax compliant.

He has indicated that the Ministry of the Attorney General is working on several measures including the introduction of two tax Bills which will ensure compliance.