Reaction to EU tax haven blacklist

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In response to the EU black and grey list of tax havens published today, Rebecca Gowland, the head of Oxfam’s inequality campaign, said:

“EU governments have let five of the world’s worst tax havens off the hook, a move which threatens the credibility of the entire blacklisting process. It is baffling that the UK Crown Dependencies have been removed, when they play a significant role in the murky world of global tax avoidance.

“It is disappointing and illogical that a UK-linked tax haven such as Jersey, where companies pay no corporate income tax, has been dropped from the list. While it is encouraging that Bermuda has been added to the blacklist, overall the EU’s criteria for identifying tax havens and the process for screening countries are too weak.

“The UK should lead the way by pushing its territories and dependencies to come clean about what happens on their shores. Failing to ensure these places follow decent tax standards, such as increased transparency, risks further loss of revenue for rich and poor countries, money which could be used to fund schools and hospitals for the world’s poorest people.”


Notes to editors:

Last week, Oxfam published its report Off the Hook, which criticised the strength of the blacklisting criteria and found that five EU member states – Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands – would be listed as tax havens if the EU criteria were applied to them.

EU finance ministers today also approved the European Commission’s annual assessment of the economic and social situation in Member States. This assessment highlighted tax rules in seven member states – Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom – that are used by multinational companies to avoid tax.

The EU has helped to make progress towards more progressive forms of taxation over the last few years. However, member states have consistently failed to agree on much-needed reforms, such as the proposals to harmonize tax rules across the EU (common consolidated corporate tax base, or ‘CCCTB’) or increase tax transparency for multinationals (public country-by-country reporting, or ‘public CBCR’).

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