As published on scoop.co.nz, Friday 25 February, 2022.
Today, European ministers updated the EU’s list of tax havens. The update added no countries to the blacklist and 10 countries to the greylist.
In response, Chiara Putaturo, Oxfam EU’s tax expert, said:
“A year ago, Open Lux uncovered the secrets of tax havens existing in Europe. Eight months later, the bombshell of the Pandora Papers made headlines around the world for blowing the lid on how the super-rich use tax havens to escape their tax bills. This week, a historic leak of Swiss banking records revealed how criminals, fraudsters and corrupt politicians used the secretive Swiss banking system to stash over US$8 billion in assets. Yet, none of this made a dent in EU rules on tax havens. The updated list does not challenge the persistent weaknesses of the process which exempts EU tax havens, and leaves secrecy jurisdictions, like Switzerland and the US, and zero tax rate countries, like the Cayman Islands, off the hook. Meanwhile, poorer countries, like Tunisia and Vietnam, are at risk of being blacklisted for not complying with top-down designed standards.
“Greylisting the Bahamas, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands means some real tax havens will be put under the magnifying glass. However, as long as the criteria are not reviewed, these countries can continue to operate as tax havens without any repercussions and can easily be completely delisted in the next review.
“How many more tax scandals must happen before the EU commits to a real reform? The current process is full of holes, lacks credibility and fails to put an end to tax avoidance. It is time for the EU to automatically blacklist zero and low tax rate countries, and to hold EU countries up to the same level of scrutiny as non-EU countries. The EU should also not use the blacklist in the future to force poorer countries, like Nigeria and Kenya, to sign up to the unfair OECD tax deal.”