December 5, 2020

The EU removes North Macedonia and Belize from its lists of tax havens

The European Union (EU) on Friday removed Belize from its black list of tax havens, although it still has to make reforms, and North Macedonia from the so-called gray list, after having complied with the changes it promised to meet community requirements of fiscal cooperation.

Following the changes adopted by the Council of Ministers of Economy and Finance of the EU, eight jurisdictions remain blacklisted: American Samoa, Fiji, Guam, Oman, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, the US Virgin Islands and Vanuatu.

Belize is blacklisted after having approved reforms to improve its tax regime for international companies that it had to adopt before the end of 2018.

The country therefore goes to the gray list, since it still has to amend or abolish some features of its system of tax exemptions to foreign-origin revenues, which the EU considers harmful, before the end of this year.

North Macedonia leaves the gray list, which contains those jurisdictions in which the EU has detected problems but has committed to implementing reforms.

The country, which aspires to join the community bloc, has ratified the multilateral convention on mutual administrative assistance of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), thus complying with all European requirements.

The EU launched its first black list of tax havens in December 2017, which assesses whether third countries meet minimum requirements for transparency, tax justice and respect for international standards to prevent the transfer of benefits and the erosion of the tax base .

Countries periodically review the situation and update the registry, which has received criticism for not imposing sanctions on countries that end up on the blacklist and for not also applying to EU member states.

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