Bri­tain puts brakes on EU tax haven black­list push

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

EURO­PEAN Union fi­nance min­is­ters painfully agreed on the cri­te­ria to draw up a Euro­pean black­list of tax havens, but Bri­tain wa­tered down the pro­posal, ea­ger to pro­tect low tax de­pen­den­cies such as Ber­muda and Guernsey.

Euro­peans have strug­gled to agree on the ba­sis of an EU-wide tax haven black­list, even after reve­la­tions in the Panama Pa­pers and LuxLeaks scan­dals shocked the gen­eral pub­lic on the strate­gies used by the rich peo­ple and big com­pa­nies to re­duce tax bills.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, the EU’s ex­ec­u­tive arm, has taken the lead on cracking down on tax havens and wants to draw up a list of prob­lem ju­ris­dic­tions.

Bri­tain, as well as Malta and the Baltic states, how­ever blocked a push to in­clude zero or nearzero cor­po­rate tax rates as one of the cri­te­ria to land on the EU’s black­list.

The min­is­ters agreed to de­lay that de­ci­sion for now – pre­sum­ably at least un­til after Bri­tain leaves the EU after its Brexit di­vorce, ex­pected in 2019. But it or­dered a task force to ex­plore the idea fur­ther.

The 28 min­is­ters agreed other cri­te­ria how­ever in­clud­ing a de­mand that third coun­tries au­to­mat­i­cally ex­change tax in­for­ma­tion and agree to an al­ready ex­ist­ing set of G20 stan­dards to fight tax eva­sion.

EU Com­mis­sion vice pres­i­dent Valdis Dom­brovskis said the EU would no­tify a broad list of coun­tries by the end of Jan­uary, from which the far more nar­rower black­list would be drawn be­fore 2018.

The EU black­list in one of many ideas given in reaction to the leak of thou­sands of doc­u­ments last Spring on anony­mously-owned shell com­pa­nies from Mos­sack Fon­seca, a Pana­ma­nian law firm that spe­cialised in set­ting up such firms. –

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