EU removes three jurisdictions from 'non-cooperative' blacklist

Monday, 20 May 2019
As expected, the European Council last week removed Aruba, Barbados and Bermuda from the European Union’s list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, leaving only 12 countries on the blacklist.

Aruba is now white-listed, while Barbados and Bermuda are being moved to the Annex II list of jurisdictions, the so-called 'grey list' that have committed to the reforms demanded by the EU.

Bermuda, along with the BVI and the Cayman Islands, requires further technical guidance from the EU Code of Conduct (Business Taxation) Group regarding economic substance concerns in the area of collective investment funds. Discussions are continuing, with the aim of making legislative amendments allowing this to happen by the end of 2019, said Bermuda's Minister of Finance, Curtis Dickinson.

On Friday (17 May), he said in the House of Assembly, ‘I must reiterate how extremely pleased and thankful I am that Bermuda has been removed from the EU’s list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions’.

Meanwhile, Barbados’ Minister of International Business and Commerce, Ronald Toppin, commented: ‘No country wishes to be on any blacklist, especially a country like Barbados, which takes its character and reputation in the international community very seriously.’

The lists will be updated again later this year, but from 2020, updates will be done no more than twice per year, to allow sufficient time for EU Member States to amend their domestic legislation if necessary. Sanctions against the remaining blacklisted jurisdictions are likely to be announced at this point.

The 12 jurisdictions still on the blacklist are American Samoa, Belize, Dominica, Fiji, Guam, the Marshall Islands, Oman, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates and the US Virgin Islands. Of these, only Trinidad and Tobago is regarded by the EU as causing 'major transparency concerns'. The others have either not responded to the EU's approaches, or made have commitments on which they have not yet delivered.


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