On 13 March 2018, the Council removed Bahrain, the Marshall Islands and Saint Lucia from the list and added the Bahamas, Saint Kitts and Nevis and the US Virgin Islands.
The EU’s list is intended to promote good governance in taxation worldwide, maximising efforts to prevent tax avoidance, tax fraud and tax evasion. It was prepared during 2017 in parallel with work within the OECD.
“I am glad to see more jurisdictions that we listed in December committing themselves to reforming their tax policies in a manner that will remedy our concerns”, said Vladislav Goranov, minister for finance of Bulgaria, which currently holds the Council presidency. “We call on all jurisdictions on the list to do likewise, and on all those that have already made commitments to implement them in a timely manner. Our aim is to achieve optimal tax transparency worldwide”, he said.
THREE JURISDICTIONS REMOVED
The EU list is contained in annex I of conclusions issued by the Council on 5 December 2017. Annex II cites a number of other jurisdictions that have undertaken commitments to reform their tax policies and which are subject to close monitoring.
Since the list was first published on 5 December 2017, Bahrain, the Marshall Islands and Saint Lucia have made commitments at a high political level to remedy EU concerns. In the light of an expert assessment of those commitments, the Council decided to move the three jurisdictions from annex I to annex II.
Implementation of their commitments will be carefully monitored.
THREE JURISDICTIONS ADDED
When it first published the list, the Council agreed to put on hold a screening of the tax systems of Caribbean jurisdictions that were struck by hurricanes in September 2017. The process was restarted in January 2018, when letters were sent requesting commitments to remedy EU concerns. The Bahamas, Saint Kitts and Nevis and the US Virgin Islands are added to the list (annex I) as a result of that process. This is because they have failed to make commitments at a high political level in response to all of the EU’s concerns.
At the same time, the Council decided to add Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands and Dominica to annex II. This was justified by commitments made to address deficiencies identified by the EU. Those commitments were assessed by EU experts, and their implementation will be carefully monitored.
The process continues with regard to an eighth Caribbean jurisdiction, the Turks and Caicos Islands, from which a commitment at a high political level is being sought by 31 March 2018 to address EU concerns.