EU COMMISSION TAKES INITIATIVES TO FORM AN EU LIST OF NON-COOPERATIVE TAX JURISDICTIONS

On September 15, 2016 the European Commission published a report with indicators which aims to eliminate the tax avoidance, and indicate the non-cooperative third country tax jurisdictions. The scoreboard offers a summary of the tax systems of third-country jurisdictions to help EU Member States recognise which countries may require further evaluation regarding tax governance issues. According to the EU Commission this screening process will be finalised by summer 2017,and later within the year the completed list of non-cooperative jurisdictions will be released.

Background

In January 2016, the EU Commission presented its Anti-Tax Avoidance Package. Additionally the EU Commission proposed a common method and approach to third country jurisdictions that would replace the current national lists with a unique and transparent list for all EU member states.

Scoreboard indicators

The Commission finalised the scoreboard by investigating the tax systems of all non-EU countries against the three ‘scoreboard indicators’ below;

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1) Economic ties with the EU: this evaluates how strong the ties are of each country with the EU and includes trade data and bilateral foreign direct investment (FDI) flows.

2) The level financial activity in the jurisdiction: measured against the financial activity and real economy in each country, using data including FDI flows, financial income flows and statistics on foreign affiliates

3) Stability factors: general governance indicators, such as anti-corruption measures and regulatory quality, were measured to determine if the jurisdiction would be viewed as a safe location by tax avoiders/evaders.

Risk assessment

A core risk assessment of the risk level of countries was made by the EU to ease tax avoidance using the following three risk indicators:

  • Absence of transparency and exchange of information under international regulations;
  • The existence of preferential tax regimes as identified by the Commission using publicly available information;
  • Zero corporate income tax.

The preliminary assessment showed that none of the countries evaluated have all three risk indicators. Forty-five countries had two indicators and thirty-four countries had one risk indicator. The remaining countries had no risk indicators at all.

In October the EU Commission will agree the final list of countries to be screened.
Once the screening phase is finalized, the Code of Conduct Group will present its recommendations on jurisdictions to be included on the EU blacklist by October 2017.