EU global tax haven list ‘flawed’ as it shortens to just 12 

The EU Council has removed four jurisdictions from its list of tax havens, reducing those it deems non-cooperative for tax purposes to just 12. By comparison, the Fair Tax Foundation’s tax haven listing details 72 jurisdictions, and a recent list issued by the Australian government earlier this month identifies 41. 

In an update this week, the EU Council announced Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands, Belize and Seychelles were either now in compliance or pending review, and has removed them from its list. 

The EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes was established in December 2017 and is updated twice a year. The current list comprises: American Samoa; Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Fiji; Guam; Palau; Panama; Russia; Samoa; Trinidad and Tobago; US Virgin Islands; and Vanuatu. 

Fair Tax Foundation tax havens list  

The Fair Tax Foundation list of tax havens, by contrast, contains 72 jurisdictions around the globe. Identifying tax havens – characteristics and 2023 Tax Haven Listing was published in June last year and updated in August to include Bahrain. 

As well as considering low- or no-corporate income tax rate jurisdictions, it looks at secrecy around beneficial ownership or financial reporting, harmful tax incentives and a lack of international cooperation around information sharing between tax authorities, as factors that indicate tax havens. Across the globe, 35% of multinational profits (equating to US$1trn) are artificially shifted to tax havens each year. 

Paul Monaghan, CEO of the Fair Tax Foundation commented:

The EU’s list of tax havens is flawed at so many levels that it is almost comical. Not least as it conveniently excludes from consideration EU Member States, such as Malta and Cyprus. Significantly, the weak nature of the EU list is going to further weaken the EU’s new public Country-by-Country Reporting requirements, which require activity in EU designated ‘tax havens’ to be disclosed. We urge the EU to undertake a fundamental review of how it compiles its tax havens list.” 

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