EU Blacklist Updates
After delisting the UAE, Mauritius, Switzerland and a few other jurisdictions, there are 9 jurisdictions still remaining on the EU’s non-cooperative list.
EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, also known as EU blacklist, was introduced since December 2017 to prevent tax avoidance and stop harmful tax practices.
Following an in-depth review of the countries tax regimes and policies, the list was revised in March this year, and added 10 jurisdictions, including the UAE, Belize, Dominica and Marshall Islands, amongst others.
Blacklisted states face reputational damage and stricter controls on transactions with the EU, especially for a financial center like the UAE. Since then, many of these jurisdictions have implemented new tax policies or reformed the existing tax regimes to comply with EU standards and been removed from the list.
Take the UAE as an example, as the largest financial center in the Middle East, it was included on the list for “failing to cooperate with the EU on tax matters”. The UAE corporate tax is levied on foreign banks and oil companies, while most other companies are exempted. However, a country’s zero tax regime doesn't make it automatically included in the EU’s blacklist.
The EU required the UAE to introduce rules to stop shell companies incorporating in the free zones for the purpose of tax avoidance. Soon after that, the UAE government introduced and implemented the Economic Substance Regulations in April which further enhanced the requirements for entities registered in the country. Free zone companies and offshore companies are required to substantiate their presence and economic activity in the country, through varying criteria enforced as per global standards.
The EU finance ministers deemed the amendments as sufficient and removed the UAE in September. Other jurisdictions, like Switzerland and Mauritius are also removed from the lists as they have committed to complying their tax rules with EU standards.
The 9 jurisdictions still remaining on the EU blacklist are: American Samoa, Belize, Fiji, Guam, Oman, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, the US Virgin Islands and Vanuatu.