During the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) meeting a report from the Code of Conduct Group (COCG) was endorsed. Earlier, the Council of the EU published the report that involves the work of the COCG in the second half of 2019.
Non-cooperative tax jurisdictions
The Council adopted conclusions and endorsed a six-monthly report on the progress achieved by the COCG on business taxation. The report includes in particular a detailed state of play on the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. In addition, the report includes guidance on further coordination of national defensive measures in the tax area towards non-cooperative jurisdictions. The guidance invites all member states to apply a legislative defensive measure in taxation vis-à-vis the listed jurisdictions as of January 1, 2021. Goal is to encourage those jurisdictions’ compliance with the Code of Conduct screening criteria on fair taxation and transparency. Furthermore, the Council adopted amendments to Annex II of the Council conclusions of March 12, 2019 on the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.
The report states that during the second half of 2019, the Marshall Islands and Belize moved from Annex I (the black-list) to Annex II (the grey-list). The United Arab Emirates (UAE) were removed from Annex I. Earlier this year, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda and Dominica were delisted. As a result, 8 jurisdictions remain as of today in the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes: American Samoa, Fiji, Guam, Oman, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, the US Virgin Islands and Vanuatu.
During the second half of 2019, Namibia and Jordan were removed from section 1.2 of Annex II. Morocco, the Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia were removed from section 1.3 of Annex II. Costa Rica, Mauritius and Switzerland were removed from section 2.1 of Annex II. Furthermore, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eswatini, Jordan and Namibia were removed from section 3.1 of Annex II. As a result, Albania, Costa Rica, Mauritius, the Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia and Switzerland were removed entirely from Annex II. Furthermore, the COCG meeting of September 13, 2019 agreed that the deadline of Namibia for complying with criterion 2.1 should be changed from November 9 to end 2019, which required an amendment to Annex II.
As of November 14, 2019, the implementation of a total of 46 commitments taken at high political level by 36 jurisdictions (5 in Annex I, 31 in Annex II) remain to be monitored by the Group. Most of these commitments are due to be implemented by the end of 2019.