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Moscovici Discusses EU's Shrinking Tax Blacklist

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

19 January 2018

EU Tax Commissioner Pierre Moscovici has said it is a positive thing that some of the countries on the EU's black list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions have made commitments to change their tax laws.

Reports this week suggested that EU officials have recommended delisting eight jurisdictions that have made commitments to amend their tax rules. Moscovici confirmed to a press conference that EU finance ministers will decide next week on whether to delist a number of countries based on these commitments.

The list of non-cooperative territories was published on December 5, 2017, and features 17 jurisdictions. The Commission sent letters to all jurisdictions on the list, explaining the decision and what they can do to be de-listed.

Moscovici said: "Some of the 17 blacklisted countries have quickly realized why it's in their interest to cooperate with the EU by making concrete and speedy commitments to change their tax laws. This is positive, this is precisely what a list is made for, and it is welcome."

Moscovici acknowledged that some people may be disappointed to see the list reduced. However, he stressed that the list is "not an end in itself," and that the Commission's goal is "to get these countries to change their tax model."

"So we can at the same time regret that the list is smaller but also welcome the commitments taken, which show that the listing process is efficient," he said.

Moscovici added that even if moved to the grey list, these countries will remain in the EU's sights. If they do fail to make sufficient progress in amending their laws by the end of 2018, they will be moved back to the black list and face sanctions.

Moscovici said that monitoring of the grey list should be "very serious and transparent."

Moscovici called on EU member states to publish the letters of commitment they have received from third countries, and that these should then be made public. He argued that a decision on this proposal should be made at next week's ECOFIN meeting, of states' economy and finance ministers.

He said such transparency would allow people to "see the progress that has been made and exert the necessary pressure to ensure that we have a credible process for the listing of tax havens."

TAGS: compliance | tax | European Commission | tax compliance | tax avoidance | law | corporation tax | tax credits | tax planning | European Union (EU) | Europe | BEPS

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