EU: First published tax haven blacklist

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The recent publication of the EU’s first tax haven blacklist has not pleased those who were expecting a crackdown. It seems as if Brussels have left off the worst of the offshore offenders.

At first, this is a good result for the offshore lobby, who have been struggling to keep the worst offenders, many of which are British dependencies, outside of the hall of shame. Not one of the 9 UK territoires, which made an earlier longlist, has been called out.

The list of the non-cooperative jurisdictions contains 17 entries such as Mongolia, American Samoa and Namibia, which do not have major powers to defend them. The 17 countries could potentially lose access to EU funds and experience sanctions soon to be announced.

Unfortunately, the issue of tax avoidance is not diminishing. Many of the tax havens in smaller countries are not ready to minimise their practices due to the fact that a reasonable standard of living cannot be provided by agriculture, seasonal tourism and fishing.

However, the accompanying “grey list” contains 47 entries including the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, Bermuda, Vanuatu and the Cayman Islands, all of which have a corporation tax rate of zero.