Taxation: 2 countries removed from list of non-cooperative jurisdictions, 5 meet commitments
On 10 October 2019, the Council agreed to remove the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Marshall Islands from the EU’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. It also found Albania, Costa Rica, Mauritius, Serbia, and Switzerland to be compliant with all commitments on tax cooperation.
The UAE and the Marshall Islands have both passed the necessary reforms to implement the commitments they had made to improve by the end of 2018 their tax policy framework by introducing economic substance requirements. Consequently, the UAE is now compliant with all commitments on tax cooperation and can be delisted. The Marshall Islands will be moved from annex I of the conclusions to annex II as the country’s commitments regarding exchanges of information on request continue to be monitored by the Council’s code of conduct group pending the results of the review of the OECD’s Global Forum on transparency and exchange of information.
Albania, Costa Rica, Mauritius, Serbia, and Switzerland have implemented ahead of their deadline all necessary reforms to comply with EU tax good governance principles. These countries will be removed from annex II of the conclusions.
The Council also reviewed jurisdictions’ situation following the end of the “two out of three” exception for tax transparency criteria on 30 June 2019. The exception provided that countries failing to comply with only one of the three tax transparency sub-criteria would not be listed in annex I. It concluded that all jurisdictions concerned met the EU’s three tax transparency criteria. In particular, concerning the situation of the United States, the Council agreed that its network of exchange of information arrangements is sufficiently broad to cover all EU Member States, effectively allowing both exchange of information on request and automatic exchange of information in line with international standards and the respective needs of both sides.
Additionally, the Council endorsed further updates of annex II and guidance on foreign source income exemption regimes. The ECOFIN Council of 12 March 2019 had noted with concern the replacement of harmful preferential tax regimes by such regimes of similar effect in certain jurisdictions.
The EU list contributes to on-going efforts to prevent tax avoidance and promote good governance principles such as tax transparency, fair taxation or international standards against tax base erosion and profit shifting.
The list was established in December 2017 and is contained in annex I of the conclusions adopted by the Council. The conclusions also contain a second annex which includes jurisdictions that have undertaken sufficient commitments to reform their tax policies and whose reforms are being monitored by the Council’s code of conduct group on business taxation.
Nine jurisdictions remain on the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions: American Samoa, Belize, Fiji, Guam, Oman, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, the US Virgin Islands and Vanuatu.
The work on the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions is a dynamic process. The Council will continue to regularly review and update the list in 2019, whilst it has requested a more stable process from 2020 (two updates per year).