T&T blacklisted as tax haven by EU

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The EU failed to agree on any financial sanctions for blacklisted countries, prompting criticism from the EU's tax commissioner and transparency campaigners.

Countries which could lose access to European Union funding and face possible sanctions include: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macau, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

Andorra, Armenia, Aruba, Belize, Botswana, Cape Verde, Cook Islands, Curaçao, Fiji, Hong Kong SAR, Jordan, Labuan Island, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Morocco, Niue, St Vincent & Grenadines, San Marino, Seychelles, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, and Vietnam. According to "Jornal de Negócios", trade between Portugal and the listed countries and regions could be disrupted and affected by higher taxes.

The EU originally screened a total of 92 jurisdictions and once the list is compiled it is expected to be continuously updated.

Some potential countermeasures include actions at an EU level - such as limiting listed jurisdictions' access to the European Fund for Sustainable Development - or measures that countries can take individually.

"To be on a blacklist is in itself bad enough and of course there will be consequences for these countries", Luxembourg Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna said.

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He said the pressure on listed countries to change must be intensified.

The penalties could include special documentation requirements and withholding tax measures.

Some countries were not listed because they pledged to improve in the area of fair taxation.

But at least 4 countries and territories - Panama, Samoa, Guam and the Marshall Islands - are likely to be removed from the list as they have promised to implement reforms at the last minute.

The clock is counting down: Now that tax reform bills have made their way through the House and Senate, Republicans in both chambers are working to iron out the differences between the two bills - with a goal of overhauling the United States tax system by December 22.

"There's still a number of countries which entered into commitments as regard to good tax governance and we will be following up [on] those commitments", European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday ahead of the meeting. "If we want to fight tax avoidance credibly on a global stage, we must also put our own house in order", said Socialist legislator Peter Simon said.

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