19 June 2015Accounting & tax analysis

Bermuda & Guernsey fight back against EU blacklist

Bermuda and Guernsey have expressed shock at their placement on the European Commission’s tax blacklist.

The list, which consists of 30 jurisdictions, consolidates national tax ‘blacklists’ as they stood six months ago and includes any jurisdiction on ten or more Member States’ blacklists.

The Bermudian Government condemned the blacklist as “unjustified and baseless”.

Bermuda’s Minister of Finance, Bob Richards, said that at least five of the 11 EU member states that have Bermuda on their national blacklist have not performed their obligations in one way or the other.

He added that it was surprising Bermuda had been labelled uncooperative and the lack of consultation meant that Bermuda could not point out that the five countries had not performed their obligations.

Richards said: “Bermuda prides itself in being a highly cooperative business centre and has gone the extra mile to be ahead of the curve in this respect.”

Guernsey’s chief minister, Jonathan Le Tocq, expressed astonishment that Guernsey has been included as Guernsey is only included on nine blacklists and had been included because Sark, a small Island for which it has no legal responsibility in tax matters, appears on another blacklist.

Le Tocq said: “The Commission appears to have hurriedly put together a list of so-called ‘non-cooperative’ non-EU jurisdictions using some very arbitrary criteria. It is this type of arbitrary and inconsistent use of ‘blacklists’ that international standards are supposed to be replacing, so this seems to me to run counter to what the Commission itself is trying to do on tax transparency.

“It also runs counter to Commissioner Moscovici’s own positive views on Guernsey, which we discussed just over a month ago.

“I have written to Commissioner Moscovici today to express Guernsey’s disappointment and surprise that we are on this list, and to ask him to have Guernsey removed from it as soon as possible.