Guernsey has hit out at its inclusion on the latest tax ‘blacklist’ compiled by the European Commission over what are termed non-cooperative non-EU jurisdictions.
The blacklist of some 30 jurisdictions aggregates lists kept by individual member states; it includes any jurisdiction that is present on 10 or more member states’ own lists.
In Guernsey’s case it claims to be on just nine member states’ own lists, but has been included because Sark appears. However, Guernsey states that it has not legal responsibility for tax matters on Sark, another of the Channel Islands.
Guernsey’s chief minister, deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, said: “The Commission appears to have hurriedly put together a list of so-called ‘non-cooperative’ non-EU jurisdictions using some very arbitrary criteria. It is this type of arbitrary and inconsistent use of ‘blacklists’ that international standards are supposed to be replacing, so this seems to me to run counter to what the Commission itself is trying to do on tax transparency. It also runs counter to commissioner Moscovici’s own positive views on Guernsey, which we discussed just over a month ago.”
“I have written to commissioner Moscovici today to express Guernsey’s disappointment and surprise that we are on this list, and to ask him to have Guernsey removed from it as soon as possible. The fact remains that we lead a number of EU member states on tax transparency and cooperation, and we will be partners of the EU in the automatic exchange of information under the Common Reporting Standard. This means we are well ahead of the full EU 28 – and yet we have been erroneously placed on an arbitrarily defined blacklist. Our priority is to be removed from this list.”
Commerce & Employment minister, deputy Kevin Stewart, said: “This list is very odd indeed. We informed the Commission that we are on nine lists rather than 11, which was confirmed by the Latvian and Polish governments, but the Commission chose not to take that into account. Guernsey is on nine national blacklists, the same as other jurisdictions such as the Isle of Man and Gibraltar, yet we are erroneously included on the so-called non-cooperation list and they quite rightly are not. We will be seeking to be removed from this list as quickly as possible, and will work with the Commission as well as our partners in the EU member states in order to do so.”