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European Union blacklists 17 tax havens for failing to comply with tax transparency

07 December 2017, 03:40 | Kevin Scott

"Given the unfortunate incorporation of the country in this discriminatory list, the Republic of Panama has made a decision to call its Ambassador to the European Union, Dario Chiru, to assess the steps to be followed moving forward", the government said in a statement.

The 17 countries that could potentially face sanctions for failing to bring their standards in line with the EU's published requirements, are South Korea, Panama, Bahrain, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, as well as Barbados, Samoa, American Samoa, Grenada, Guam, Macau, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, according to an ECOFIN announcement.

A number of critics, however, have pointed out that a tax haven list that doesn't include any countries within the European Union is absurd.

Potential countermeasures that have been tabled on behalf of the European Commission, include limiting access for listed jurisdictions to the European Fund for Sustainable Development, as EU-28 level measures, while the member states could on a country to country bass reinforce monitoring of transactions, increase audit risks for taxpayers benefiting from the regimes at stake or for those using structure involving these jurisdictions. It said it will discuss the matter with related ministries and respond accordingly.

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Dozens more countries avoided censure by pledging to improve their tax rules, transparency and information sharing.

"It's an important continuation of the recent years' clear breakthrough in the worldwide fight against tax evasion". Panama has been battered by document leaks, including the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers, showing how the rich have stashed wealth in shell companies in Panama and other small nations. Lower-tax countries like Ireland and the Netherlands argue that will hurt Europe's competitiveness.

Among those not included on the main blacklist were British overseas territories such as the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and Jersey, all of which were revealed to be at the centre of major tax avoidance schemes in the recent Paradise Papers. "I invite the member states to not be naive and keep pressure on the third countries to stay on course", he said as he arrived for the talks in Brussels.

The EU originally screened a total of 92 jurisdictions and once the list is compiled it is expected to be continuously updated.



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