Sunday, 17 December, 2017

T&T blacklisted as tax haven by EU

Image via Shutterstock Image via Shutterstock
Angelica Greene | 08 December, 2017, 01:31

"The EU itself is central to the tax haven problem, and many European countries have tax structures that multinationals can use to avoid taxes - that's deeply concerning", she said in a statement.

The list of countries named include: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macau, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates.

In the meantime, the threat of being blacklisted and sanctioned has spurred many countries to cooperate with the European Union, a sign that public shaming alone will have an impact, said European Union legislator Tom Vandenkendelaere of the EPP Christian Democrats.

The blacklisted countries are accused of behaving like tax havens.

The Government said that of the worldwide tax standards the country has and hasn't adopted, "the sole outstanding issue is the implementation of the base erosion and profit shifting minimum standards, which we have committed to finalize by October 2018 and ratify by March 2019 - giving our federal structure sufficient time to allow for ratification across the seven emirates".

The list was made on the basis of three main components: tax transparency, fair tax competition and implementation of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), which is a way of battling tax avoidance created by the OECD.

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He said however that Tuesday's decision showed "political courage" because the European Union did not hesitate to blacklist countries that are "close to the EU".

He admitted however that some practices should be "prohibited" or "fought" in some member states. It justified this by saying the list is specifically focused on external threats, adding that internal procedures are already in place to make sure tax policy within the bloc is fair and transparent.

Tove Maria Ryding, from Eurodad, another NGO, said that the list "looks like an attempt to divert attention away from the fact that European Union governments have failed to clean up their own house". Lower-tax countries like Ireland and the Netherlands argue that will hurt Europe's competitiveness. Among them are Switzerland, Morocco, Turkey, Qatar, Thailand and Hong Kong.

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.

An existing list of tax havens compiled by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) now includes only Trinidad and Tobago.

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