• Jo Vanbelle

Caribbean states appeal to EU over tax blacklisting

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), which gathers 15 Caribbean jurisdictions, has recently stressed the intense work that is being carried out by their embassy in Brussels on international tax matters.

The OECS is currently struggling against being branded a tax haven, after several of its members have been included on a blacklist by European tax authorities.

The European finance ministers recently also added the Bahamas and Saint Kitts and Nevis to the list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, after they were assessed to have been failing to meet minimum standards on transparency and exchange of information for financial services.

In the eyes of Brussels, such disqualification comes with consequences, as many EU members’ domestic laws make express reference to the blacklist to avoid aggressive tax planning by their taxpayers through the use of foreign structures. European countermeasures also include the prohibition of channeling or transiting EU external development and investment through blacklisted countries.

The OECS Chairman said that small economies such as the Caribbean states are constantly affected by larger countries and multinational institutions such as the EU, and that the disproportion of power is causing them a number of problems and damaging their economies.

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