EU to keep U.S. islands on tax blacklist, drop UAE, Switzerland
08 Oct 2019

European Union finance ministers are set to remove the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Switzerland next week from the bloc’s lists of countries deemed to be acting as tax havens, an EU document said.

They will however continue to blacklist three U.S. territories.

The 28-nation EU set up a blacklist and a grey list of tax havens in December 2017 after revelations of widespread avoidance schemes used by corporations and wealthy individuals to lower their tax bills.

The lists are regularly reviewed to take account of overhauls or to add new jurisdictions.

At a meeting on Oct. 10, the bloc’s finance ministers are expected to drop UAE from the blacklist, which includes jurisdictions that have failed to cooperate with the EU on tax matters. The Pacific archipelago of the Marshall Islands will also be removed from that list, an EU document said.

That would leave nine jurisdictions on the list. They are: Belize, Fiji, Oman, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu and the three U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Blacklisted states face reputational damage and stricter controls on transactions with the EU.

The inclusion of U.S. territories on the list has long been a source of friction with Washington. The tussle could escalate further after a bilateral trade war erupted this week over illegal EU aircraft subsidies.

The UAE, the largest financial center still on the list, is due to be removed because it adopted new rules on offshore structures in September, the EU document said.

The Gulf state charges no corporate taxes, making it a possible target for firms seeking to avoid paying tax in the countries where they actually operate.

By Francesco Guarascio, Reuters, 4 October 2019

Read more at Reuters

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