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

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

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

EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said this was less than the 20 countries he had hoped for but would be a "initial victory" if confirmed.

"Some of the biggest players within the realm of tax havens sit at the European Union tables in Brussels - nations like Luxembourg and the Netherlands", Hannah Brejnholt, a political tax consultant with aid organisation Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke, told BT.

The EU agreed to not add countries to its blacklist of tax havens even if the country failed to live up to EU tax standards if the country made a sufficient commitment to change its ways. "This list needs to be effective, meaning that it needs to allow us to impose sanctions so that those who don't respect rules will change their behavior".

The investigation into the tax havens began in September 2016, eventually leading to a list of 17 countries: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macau, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and the UAE.

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The EU has blacklisted 17 "tax haven" states as it cracks down on the estimated £506bn lost in avoidance schemes each year.

"Blacklisted jurisdictions must face consequences in the form of dissuasive sanctions, while those that have made commitments must follow up on them quickly and credibly".

Other critics pointed to other countries missing from the list, such as the Bahamas, Malta, Ireland and the British Virgin Islands - to mention just a few.

Eurodad, the European Network on Debt and Development, criticised the EU for the lack of will to look at its own member states.

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The EU proposed new rules a year ago that would force multinational companies that operate in the bloc to reveal details about their operations in tax havens and summarize how much tax they pay in countries around the world. "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.

A further 47 jurisdictions were also included in a grey list.

This second list includes Switzerland, Turkey and Hong Kong. Some large companies - including Apple, General Electric, and others - often stash billions of dollars overseas in tax havens, like Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands, so they can effectively defer payment of their taxes.

The announcement comes less than a month after the publication of the Paradise Papers, a global leak containing information about individuals and companies holding offshore finances.

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