EU 'tax haven blacklist' due today: as many as 25 jurisdictions could be on it

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As many as 25 jurisdictions could be named today on a long-awaited  final “tax haven blacklist” due to be put before EU finance ministers. 

As reported here last month, the recent publication by the world media of the “Paradise Papers”, compiled from a trove of leaked financial data from a Bermuda law firm, was reported to have convinced the EU’s finance ministers to move forward their plans to compile the list.

Yesterday, the Financial Times reported that as many as 25 countries are said to be on the final draft version of the list, although it noted that “at least four — Panama, Samoa, Guam and the Marshall Islands — are likely to be removed after they made last-minute promises to reform”, and that others “may follow, as the group considers any further pledges received by Monday evening”.

Those jurisdictions  hit by recent hurricanes in the Atlantic and Caribbean have until February to provide a response, the FT report noted.

The idea of a definitive EU tax haven blacklist has been around for years, but it took on fresh urgency after the publication last year of the Panama Papers, which called attention to a degree of tax evasion and avoidance that many government officials around the world found impossible to ignore.

Over the past week, the possibility of being on the blacklist has been a topic of focus and discussion among financial services industry officials and government ministers in a number of key overseas jurisdictions. In Jersey, for example, the Jersey Evening Post ran a story yesterday which quoted a “senior tax specialist”, KPMG head of tax John Riva, as saying that Jersey was “almost certain” to avoid being on the list.