Cayman cleared, but concerns remain — European Union blacklist released

Cayman cleared, but concerns remain — European Union blacklist released

As part of its efforts to crack down the transfer of illicit funds, the European Union broadened its blacklist of tax heavens during an Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) meeting of the bloc's finance ministers in Brussels on 12 March where they added the United Arab Emirates, Aruba, and Bermuda to a list of flagged nations that was set up in December 2017.

The expanded list includes five countries who have not met the EU's demands since the first blacklist-American Samoa, Guam, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago and the US Virgin Islands-and ten which were moved from the grey list to the blacklist: Barbados, Marshall Islands, the United Arab Emirates, Aruba, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Fiji, Oman and Vanuatu.

Those ten jurisdictions did not implement the commitments they had made to the European Union by the agreed deadline.

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The EU Commission creates the list based on tax transparency, good governance, real economic activity, and the existence of a zero corporate tax rate.

Sylvia Oliveira, Director, Bermuda International Long Term Insurers & Reinsurers (BILTIR), added:"The government of Bermuda assures us it is working at the highest levels to rectify the unfortunate placement of Bermuda on the EU's list of non-cooperative jurisdictions". It was drawn up after revelations of widespread tax-avoidance schemes used by corporations and wealthy individuals to lower their tax bills.

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Out of 15 countries blacklisted, 10 were on the grey list before, the commission underlined. The EU listing process has also created a framework for dialogue and cooperation with the EU's worldwide partners, to address concerns with their tax systems and discuss tax matters of mutual interest.

The EU conceived the idea of this blacklist in December 2017 and the screening will now be enhanced, officials stated.

The EU's struggle to agree on the common list of alleged tax havens came just a week after the bloc's members rejected another blacklist on likely money-laundering hotspots and highlights the degree to which lobbying and national trade interests interfere with EU action against questionable financial practices. A final decision will be made by finance ministers at a meeting today.

The UAE has made outstanding achievements in 2018, in line with its commitment to transparency and global tax standards, where it joined in May 2018 the Inclusive Framework on the BEPS program to become the 116th jurisdiction to join this framework.

The countries already on the blacklist? "We are raising the bar of good tax governance globally and cutting out the opportunities for tax abuse", Moscovici said.

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