New Zealand Law Society - Samoa on EU tax haven blacklist

Samoa on EU tax haven blacklist

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Samoa is one of 17 countries which are on a list of "non-cooperative tax jurisdictions" released by the European Union.

American Samoa is also on the list, along with two other Pacific countries - the Marshall Islands and Palau.

The first such list produced by the EU, it identifies countries which the EU says failed to meet international standards and which did not give a good enough commitment to change.

The EU says the list is part of its work to clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance. It was compiled through a three-step process where 213 countries were pre-assessed in September 2016 using over 1600 different indicators.

From this, jurisdictions were chosen for screening and formally contacted and invited to engage with the EU. After experts finished the screening stage - during which there was much two-way contact - each jurisdiction was advised and asked to make high level commitments to address identified deficiencies within a set time period. Those that did not were put forward for listing.

The 17 countries on the non-cooperative list are: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, Republic of Korea, Macao SAR, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisea, and United Arab Emirates.

Jurisdictions committing to improve

A further 47 countries have committed to improving their transparency standards. Pacific countries among these are Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, and Vanuatu.

The EU says once these countries have fulfilled their transparency standards, the commitments should enhance the tax good governance environment, globally.

The list is as follows:

Improve Transparency Standards: Armenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Cape Verde, Hong Kong SAR, Curacao, Fiji, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Jamaica, Georgia, Maldives, Montenegro, Morocco, New Caledonia, Oman, Peru, Qatar, Serbia, Swaziland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Viet Nam.

Improve Fair Taxation: Andorra, Armenia, Aruba, Belize, Botswana, Cape Verde, Cook Islands, Curacao, Fiji, Hong Kong SAR, Jordan, Labuan Island, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Morocco, Nieu, St Vincent & Grenadines, San Marino, Seychelles, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, Viet Nam.

Introduce substance requirements: Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Vanuatu.

Commit to apply OECD BEPS measures: Albania, Armenia, Aruba, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Cook Islands, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greenland, Jordan, Maldives, Montenegro, Morocco, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Saint Vincent & Grenadines, Serbia, Swaziland, Taiwan, Vanuatu.

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