Greater blacklist transparency can help fight tax dodging

EU finance ministers have added more countries to the EU blacklist and gray list of tax havens. The EU has also started to publish the clean-up commitments taken by some of the countries on the tax haven gray list.

Reacting to the news, Oxfam’s tax policy advisor Johan Langerock said:

“EU pressure appears to be pushing more and more notorious tax havens into changing their murky ways. The commitments taken by the tax havens on the gray list must be followed up by EU member states, and fast. No tax haven should be let off the hook.

“It is no secret though that tax havens remain at the heart of the EU, with four European countries actually failing the EU’s own blacklisting criteria. The Commission rightly named and shamed several EU member states last week for their aggressive tax policies – but now action must follow those words to stamp out tax avoidance in the EU. Governments should tackle tax havens within the EU with the same urgency they are pressuring other countries to adopt tax reforms that were decided by the OECD club of rich countries.

“Publishing the reform commitments of tax havens will allow for public scrutiny of the blacklisting process and for continued pressure on tax havens to reform. If tax havens don’t follow up with the promised reforms, the EU must blacklist them. Only a strong blacklist with effective sanctions for the companies and wealthy individuals exploiting tax havens will help end the tax dodging that deprives countries of hundreds of billions of dollars, fueling poverty and inequality.

Notes to editors: 
  • Oxfam’s tax policy advisor Johan Langerock is available for interviews in Brussels.
  • Last December, the EU member states created the EU blacklist of tax havens. Tax havens that committed to reforms were put on an additional gray list, which has since grown as the blacklist has shrunk.
  • Currently nine countries and other jurisdictions are blacklisted: American Samoa, Bahamas, Guam, Namibia, Palau, Samoa, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago and the US Virgin Islands.
  • The gray list currently includes 62 countries and other jurisdictions.
  • The Council has started to publish the commitments taken by the countries on the gray list; countries are added as soon as they give their consent to the publication.
  • Oxfam has called for greater transparency in the blacklisting process, from both the EU governments and tax havens themselves.
  • According to a UN estimate, corporate tax dodging costs developing countries $100 billion per year.
Contact information: 

Florian Oel | Brussels | florian.oel@oxfam.org | office +32 2 234 11 15 | mobile +32 473 56 22 60

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