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Guernsey Decries Its Inclusion On EU Blacklist

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
18 June, 2015

Guernsey's Chief Minister and Commerce and Employment Minister have expressed their astonishment that Guernsey has been included on a new list of 30 so-called 'non-cooperative' non-EU jurisdictions.

Guernsey Finance, the island's financial services promotional agency, said the EU list consolidates national tax "blacklists" as they stood six months ago, and includes any jurisdiction on 10 or more member states' lists.

According to Guernsey Finance, Guernsey is on nine such lists. It said its inclusion seems to result from the erroneous attribution of a "blacklisting" of the neighboring island of Sark, for which it has no legal responsibility in tax matters.

Guernsey's Chief Minister, Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, said: "The Commission appears to have hurriedly put together a list of so-called 'non-cooperative' non-EU jurisdictions using some very arbitrary criteria. It is this type of arbitrary and inconsistent use of 'blacklists' that international standards are supposed to be replacing, so this seems to me to run counter to what the Commission itself is trying to do on tax transparency. It also runs counter to Commissioner Moscovici's own positive views on Guernsey, which we discussed just over a month ago."

"I have written to Commissioner Moscovici today to express Guernsey's disappointment and surprise that we are on this list, and to ask him to have Guernsey removed from it as soon as possible. The fact remains that we lead a number of EU member states on tax transparency and cooperation, and we will be partners of the EU in the automatic exchange of information under the Common Reporting Standard. This means we are well ahead of the full EU 28 – and yet we have been erroneously placed on an arbitrarily defined blacklist. Our priority is to be removed from this list."

Commerce and Employment Minister Kevin Stewart said: "This list is very odd indeed. We informed the Commission that we are on nine lists rather than 11, which was confirmed by the Latvian and Polish governments, but the Commission chose not to take that into account. Guernsey is on nine national blacklists, the same as other jurisdictions such as the Isle of Man and Gibraltar, yet we are erroneously included on the so-called non-cooperation list and they quite rightly are not. We will be seeking to be removed from this list as quickly as possible, and will work with the Commission as well as our partners in the EU member states in order to do so."

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