EU's Moscovici says expects adoption of blacklist of 20 #TaxHavens

John Riva

John Riva

The list is a result of excessive screening of more third countries before the ministers made up their mind that these 17 non-EU countries will be blacklisted, while another 47 will be included in a separate gray list, to be monitored for their compliance with commitments undertaken. The jurisdiction should have no preferential tax measures that could be regarded as harmful according to the criteria set out in the Resolution of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States.

European Union member states still need to decide when the list will be updated, how they will track progress on promised reforms and what sanctions will be imposed on blacklisted countries.

The EU reportedly put South Korea on the list citing lack of transparency in the country's tax benefits for foreign companies investing in its free economic zones and foreign investment zones.

But, blacklist updated on November 27, does not include Turkey anymore, as stated by Bloomberg.

The Code of Conduct Group (Business Taxation) mainly deals with assessing the tax measures which fall within the scope of the code of conduct (adopted in December 1997) for business taxation and overseeing the provision of information on those measures.

Other countries are reluctant to draw up common sanctions, believing that responsibility is better left to member states.

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More than two dozen countries face being named on a European tax-haven blacklist as the EU moves to crack down on aggressive avoidance.

EU finance commissioner Pierre Moscovici had called for countries to "rapidly adopt a European tax haven list" in light of the Panama Papers revelations, as well as arguing that such a list should be enforced with "credible and meaningful" sanctions. France is one of the states that support disciplinary measures such as the exclusion from worldwide funding, Bloomberg added.

Alex Cobham of Tax Justice Network, a campaign group, said at the time that the document marked a disheartening return to "the [OECD'S] old pattern of creating "tax haven" blacklists on the basis of criteria that are so weak as to be near enough meaningless, and then declaring success when the list is empty".

The EU is calling on countries with non-transparent tax regimes and structures exclusively created to shield companies' profits from tax to reform their systems.

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.

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