MEPs vote to add Channel and British Virgin Islands to tax haven blacklist

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The European parliament is pushing for UK overseas territories including the British Virgin Islands, Guernsey and Jersey to be added to an EU tax havens blacklist after the conclusion of the Brexit deal.

Sending a signal that tougher action on tax avoidance was required in response to the coronavirus pandemic, MEPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of adding more nations and territories to the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions.

The resolution, passed earlier this week by a vote of 587 to 50, included measures calling for the automatic inclusion on the blacklist of countries which use a 0% tax regime. Among these are the UK overseas territories, viewed by transparency campaigners as havens for tax avoidance.

After the vote, any decision to expand the blacklist would rest with the 27 member states on the EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council. While also arguing for the inclusion of EU territories such as the Netherlands, Ireland and Malta, MEPs said that after Brexit that UK territories lacked a layer of protection from inclusion on the blacklist.

This week’s vote explicitly mentioned the conclusion of the Brexit deal, saying that Britain’s overseas territories should now be screened for potential inclusion on the list, and that the Brexit deal was based on “mutual values and geared towards common prosperity, which automatically excludes aggressive tax competition”.

Main Photo: A plenary session of the European Parliament, in Brussels, Belgium. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

Read more via The Guardian

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