EU removes BVI, adds Antigua and Barbuda, Belize and Seychelles to tax list

The EU Council has listed Antigua and Barbuda, Belize and Seychelles as non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, while it removed the British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica and the Marshall Islands from the list.

The tax list contains 16 jurisdictions: American Samoa, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Bahamas, Belize, Fiji, Guam, Palau, Panama, Russia, Samoa, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands and Vanuatu.

The EU said the countries had either not engaged in a constructive dialogue with the EU on tax governance or had failed to deliver on their commitments to implement the necessary reforms.

The list has been criticised in the past as most listed countries are small island nations and half are in the Caribbean and Central American region.

The EU also assesses only non-EU jurisdictions based on a set of criteria laid down by the Council. They cover tax transparency, fair taxation and implementation of international standards designed to prevent tax base erosion and profit shifting.

The EU found Antigua and Barbuda, Belize and Seychelles to be lacking with regard to the exchange of tax information on request.

The BVI was taken off the list after amending its framework on exchange of information on request and will be reassessed in accordance with the OECD standard. Pending this reassessment the BVI is included in a State of Play document of jurisdictions that are cooperating but which have not yet fully implemented agreed tax reforms, known as Annex II. 

Costa Rica was delisted because it has amended the harmful aspects of its foreign source income exemption regime and the Marshall Islands was delisted as it has made significant progress in enforcement of economic substance requirements, the EU said.

Most EU member states have implemented some form of defensive measures that can applied to countries on the EU tax list, for example in the form of withholding taxes, non-deductibility of costs or CFC rules.

In addition, four jurisdictions were removed from Annex II. Jordan and Qatar fulfilled their commitments by amending a harmful tax regime. Montserrat and Thailand fulfilled all their pending commitments related to country-by-country reporting of taxes paid.

The EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes was established in December 2017 and is updated twice a year.

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