[Switzerland] EU Will Take Switzerland Off Tax Haven Lists

An EU document says finance ministers will be removing Switzerland from the lists of countries considered as tax havens, swissinfo.ch reports.

Switzerland is expected to be removed from the ‘grey list’ on October 10. The list includes countries which have committed to change their tax rules, making them compliant with EU standards. 

The document reportedly said that Switzerland has delivered on its commitments. An acknowledgement that a tax reform the country passed last year - due to begin in 2020 - met EU demands.

The United Arab Emirates will be taken off the blacklist, which includes jurisdictions that have not cooperated with the EU on tax matters. The Pacific archipelago of the Marshall Islands is also going to be removed from the list.  

Nine jurisdictions will remain on the list: Belize, Fiji, Oman, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu and the three US territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands.

Blacklisted states face stricter controls on transactions with the EU and damage to their reputations.

The EU created its blacklist - and a grey list - of tax havens in December 2017. This followed the uncovering of widespread tax avoidance schemes used by corporations and wealthy individuals. The lists have regular reviews to allow for overhauls or to include new jurisdictions.

Switzerland was reportedly put on the grey list by the EU in December 2017, following fears that Switzerland would be black-listed when voters rejected corporate tax reforms earlier in the year (link via original reporting). It was voters’ belief that the new regime would benefit big companies unfairly and at the expense of smaller firms and individuals. 

Albania, Costa Rica, Mauritius and Serbia will also be removed from the grey list next week. Dozens of jurisdictions around the globe continue to be listed, including the Cayman Islands, Turkey, the Bahamas and Bermuda.

Countries are moved to the blacklist if they do not deliver on their commitments by specific deadlines.