EU blacklists British overseas territories as ‘uncooperative’ on tax

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The European Council added British overseas territories to its blacklist of “uncooperative tax regimes” today. The move comes as a first time in history for the British Virgin Islands and a blow to Brexit Britain.

In a note announcing the move, which also saw Costa Rica, the Marshall Islands and Russia added to the list, the Council said: “The Council regrets that these jurisdictions are non-cooperative on tax matters and invites them to improve their legal framework in order to resolve the identified issues.

“British Virgin Islands are listed because they were found not to be sufficiently in compliance with the OECD standard on exchange of information on request (criterion 1.2). This is the first time this jurisdiction is listed.”

Commenting on the decision, Elisabeth Svantesson, Minister for Finance of Sweden added: “Today, we decided to add four jurisdictions to the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes: British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, Marshall Islands and Russia.

“We ask all listed countries to improve their legal framework and to work towards compliance with international standards in taxation.

“At the same time I warmly congratulate North Macedonia, Barbados, Jamaica and Uruguay as they successfully fulfilled their commitments and could be removed from the state of play document.”

The EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes was established in December 2017.

It is part of the EU’s external strategy on taxation and aims to contribute to ongoing efforts to promote tax good governance worldwide.

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Jurisdictions are assessed on the basis of a set of criteria laid down by the Council.

These criteria cover tax transparency, fair taxation and implementation of international standards designed to prevent tax base erosion and profit shifting. Work on the list is a dynamic process.

Since 2020, the Council updates the list twice a year. The next revision of the list is scheduled for October 2023.

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The list is set out in Annex I of the Council conclusions on the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.

The conclusions also include a state-of-play document identifying cooperative jurisdictions which have made further improvements to their tax policies or related cooperation.

The Council’s decisions are prepared by the Council’s code of conduct group which is also responsible for monitoring tax measures in the EU member states.

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