Since the recent leak of the Paradise Papers, several governments have been trying to avoid a potentially embarrassing or damaging naming and shaming. However, a new EU blacklist could mean it could no longer be avoided as the list, which is due to be release in early December, will provide companies and individuals with a list of countries that it considers to be tax havens.
The report was originally published by global charity Oxfam and has looked at the tax policies or 92 countries which are currently being assessed by European Commission. The report has also looked at all EU member states, which are not part of the commission’s review. Using the same criteria, Oxfam claims that Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands should be included on the blacklist.
“Blacklist or Whitewash?”
Among the 92 non-EU countries assessed by Oxfam, the report states the 35 of them should be included in the EU’s blacklist, including various European states like Albania, Switzerland, Serbia and Gibraltar. Oxfam has criticised the EU for excluding its own members from the assessments, and also of its policies on Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands.
The report, called “Blacklist or Whitewash?” claims that the EU needs to be more consistent in its policies as currently its own member states are not included. The charity claims that “Political pressure will lead to a dilution of the criteria and thus to a useless list.”
“Anything else would be a free pass to continue the selfish and socially harmful business model of ‘tax havens’ and to further fuel the ruinous international tax race to the bottom. The G20 have just one country on their tax haven list – the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Such a farce must not be allowed by the EU.”
“We expect the countries identified by us to appear on the actual list. Anything else would be a free pass to continue the selfish and socially harmful business model of ‘tax havens’ and to further fuel the ruinous international tax race to the bottom. The G20 have just one country on their tax haven list – the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Such a farce must not be allowed by the EU.”
A fair taxation policy
Despite Oxfam’s report, a difference of opinion among individual EU member states mean it’s unlikely to meet the recommendations. The European Commission is very wary of applying a blacklist to EU countries, and according to some reports some non EU countries like Serbia and Turkey have already disputed their place on the list and successfully been removed.
The EU Finance and Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici has already called for the list to have “adequate sanctions” which all member states would be required to comply with. There’s also the possibility that a new list would only be used for highlighting countries that are considered tax havens, as offshore tax laws aren’t technically illegal.
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