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Barbados To Challenge 'Unfair' Inclusion On EU Tax Blacklist

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

12 December 2017


Barbados's Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, says the island is seeking an urgent review of its recent tax "blacklisting" by the European Council, and has provided further background explaining why its placement on the list is unfair.

Inniss said that in the lead-up to the Council's decision to list Barbados as a non-cooperative tax jurisdiction, Barbados had already given undertakings to the OECD Forum on Harmful Tax Practices, which works in parallel with the EU Council's Code of Conduct (Business Taxation) Group, to address concerns over a number of the island's tax-preferred regimes, including its International Business Companies regime.

He said the Forum deemed the island's Fiscal Incentives Act regime, which provides certain manufacturers with tax and duty exemptions, as outside the scope of its review. However the Code of Conduct Group deemed it as in scope.

Barbados inquired as to the Council's conclusion and there began a series of email exchanges between the EU and Barbados, Inniss said. Subsequently, Barbados by letter dated November 27, 2017, advised the Code of Conduct Group it would add the Fiscal Incentives Act regime to the list of regimes it was committed to reviewing.

In that letter, the Government committed to amending the following regimes:

  • International Business Companies,
  • International Societies with Restricted Liability,
  • International Trusts,
  • Qualifying Insurance Companies,
  • Exempt Insurance Companies,
  • International Financial Services Act, and
  • The Foreign Credit for Qualifying Overseas Projects.

Nevertheless, Barbados was placed on a list of non-cooperative territories. Annex 1 of the list states that "Barbados has a harmful preferential tax regime and did not clearly commit to amending or abolishing it as requested by December 31, 2018."

Inniss said that Barbados has now written to the European Council seeking clarification on which regime the island has not clearly committed to amending. He said Barbados will now dispatch detailed correspondence to the EU requesting an urgent review of its decision and the territory has sought the Caribbean Community bloc's support with its efforts.

TAGS: tax | business | European Commission | tax incentives | offshore | tax reform | Barbados | Europe | Tax | BEPS

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